Wadea Al-Fayoume, age six, was fatally stabbed on October 14 and Hanaan Shahin was injured. Joseph Czuba, 71, is accused of causing both injuries.
After being indicted by an Illinois grand jury, a man accused of killing, attempting to kill, and committing a hate crime against a Palestinian American lady and her young son entered a not guilty plea on Monday.
Incident Details & Statement
According to the authorities, the victims were singled out due to their Muslim beliefs and in reaction to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Shahin said to the police that after she had pushed her landlord in Plainfield, Will County, Czuba, to “pray for peace,” he became enraged about the conflict and assaulted them.
Wearing a crimson prison uniform, stockings, and yellow rubber slippers, Czuba made an appearance in court on Monday.
When the court read the eight-count indictment, his lawyer, George Lenard, entered the not guilty plea.
Czuba stood in front of the judge at the Joliet court, which is located 50 miles southwest of Chicago, staring down at the podium with his hands folded behind his back. He did not say anything.
32-year-old Shahin is recuperating from many stabbing wounds.
On October 16, hundreds of people showed up for her son’s burial. He was described as an active child who enjoyed playing video games. It was his birthday lately.
Other family members, including the boy’s father, were present during the hearing. They refused to talk to the media.
According to the murder accusation in Czuba’s indictment, the boy’s death was brought on by “exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior.” The White House has condemned the assault on the family, which reignited anti-Islamic sentiment among the well-established and sizable Palestinian community in the Chicago region.
Czuba will stay in custody until his court appearance on January 8th, according to Judge David Carlson’s ruling.
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Fitzgerald argued that Czuba should remain in custody because he posed a threat to Shahin and other people.
He said, “We also think he poses a threat to the community’s safety.”
Czuba’s lawyers disagreed, pointing out that he is a veteran with no prior criminal convictions in addition to his age.
Following the hearing, Lenard and Fitzgerald refused to speak with media.
Shahin claimed her kid was her closest friend and urged people to “pray for peace” in a statement released last week by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Chicago branch.