LOS ANGELES - A North Hills man who was found guilty in September for the 2016 murders of his wife and son was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life terms plus 26 years.
Shehadeh Issa, 71, had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as well as a sentencing enhancement of a hate crime because the jury found his son's gay sexual identity was one of several motives in the killing.
Authorities said Issa shot his son, 38-year-old Amier, outside of their family home in March of 2016.
His 68-year-old wife, Rabihah, was found dead inside the home. Investigators initially believed Issa killed his son because he was gay, but later determined it may have been also to try to cover up for the murder of his wife.
Prosecutors say after stabbing his wife 45 times, he locked up the house and prepared for the murder of his son two days later.
Two faces of a killer emerged in the trial of Shehadeh Issa. He was charming to strangers, but his children described him as a demon.
"He made up lies about each and every one of us," one of his children said.
Family members said Issa was a monster to his wife.
"Little did she know he was going to slaughter her and slaughter their son," said Shadiah Graham, Issa's wife's sister.
Loved ones were allowed to speak at the sentencing about escalating domestic abuse.
Prosecutors said Issa's motive for the double murder was twofold. A compulsive gambler, who was in debt, he wanted his wife Rabihah to sell the house.
Then there was his escalating hostility toward his son because he was gay. Issa shot him 4 times, after he viciously stabbed Rabihah repeatedly.
Mother and son now share a grave. A final voicemail was played in court.
"I still love you very much. I pray for you every day. I hope I see you very soon," Rabihah said in that haunting message.
Even the judge choked up before sentencing Issa to two consecutive life sentences plus 26 years for the murders which included a hate crime.
"He is 71 years old now. He will die in prison," said prosecutor Emily Cole.
"I pray that God gives him a conscience so that he knows what pain is," said Graham.