A landlord charged with fatally stabbing a six-year-old Palestinian American boy and wounding his mother had been listening to right-wing talk radio coverage of the Israel-Hamas war before the shocking attack, say prosecutors.
Joseph Czuba, 71, appeared in Will County court outside of Chicago on Monday, accused of murdering Wadea Al-Fayoume after attacking the youngster and his mother, Hanan Shaheen.
Prosecutors told the court that the suspect had become increasingly concerned for his safety as he listened to conservative radio coverage of the Middle East conflict before his violent attack on Saturday, reported The Chicago Sun-Times.
His wife told investigators that he “believed he was in danger and she [Shaheen] was going to call Palestinian friends to come and harm them,” said Michael Fitzgerald, a Will County assistant state’s attorney.
Mr Czuba’s wife said her husband had also taken out $1,000 from the bank because he believed “the grid” was set to go down.
Wadea was stabbed 26 times and his 32-year-old mother more than 12 times in the shocking attack at a property in Plainfield Township, outside of Chicago.
Mr Czuba has been charged with one count each of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery, and two counts of hate crime.
The court heard that Ms Shaheen was having breakfast with her American-born son on Saturday morning when the suspect knocked on their door.
She told police that he then began to argue with her about the situation in the Middle East, and she told him “Let’s give peace a chance.”
Mr Fitzgerald said that is when the suspect launched his brutal attack.
Ms Shaheen told investigators that “Czuba is an angry man, but on the day in question, he came to the house and said he was angry at her for what was happening at Jerusalem,” Mr Fitzgerald added.
Ms Shaheen, who remains in hospital in a serious condition, managed to get into a bathroom to call 911, during which time the suspect allegedly killed her son.
The youngster was found dead in a bedroom with multiple stab wounds and a knife plunged four inches into his abdomen.
The suspect was found in the back garden of the house with a cut to his face and wearing a knife holster on his belt.
Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says that Ms Shaheen has lived in the US for 12 years and that her son celebrated his sixth birthday earlier this month.