Police investigating the gruesome deaths of two members of a Los Angeles family now believe father Shehada Issa was behind both killings—and they no longer think he killed his son for being gay. Homophobia may have been one factor, investigators say, but the main reason for the shooting appears to have been an attempt to cover up the murder of mother Rabihah Issa, who had been stabbed to death sometime in the 24 hours before the son was shot dead last week. "Dad killed mom and then killed his son to cover it up," Detective John Doerbecker tells the Los Angeles Times. He says investigators have found evidence of animosity between husband and wife, and nothing to back up Issa's claim that he shot his son Amir in self-defense.
Before the latest twist, prosecutors had considered the son's murder a hate crime, saying it was "committed because of the victim's sexual orientation," the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Deputy DA Emily Cole tells the Times that evidence for a hate crime includes statements from Amir's siblings about threats the father had made. "We have enough, obviously, to prove he killed the son, but the motive and the reasoning and everything is very much an ongoing investigation," she says. Issa, 69, is being held without bail and has not yet been charged in the death of his wife. (Weeks before the killings, the son made some bizarre posts on Facebook, including a video of a confrontation with his parents.)