Prosecutors say 29-year-old Los Angeles man Amir Issa was murdered by his father for being gay, though other factors—including the unexplained murder of Issa's mother—make the case a lot more complicated than a simple hate crime. The Los Angeles Times reports that there was a "long-brewing mix of drugs, mental illness, homophobia, and extreme family dysfunction" leading up to last week's killings. In a Facebook post 10 days before his father allegedly shot him dead, Issa complained that he felt like his "sister or brother or mother or father" was "literally controlling" him in his sleep. "If there is a devil or evil spirit, I truly believe it manifests itself in my family," he wrote, adding that his name is "Prince Christ." In a video posted weeks earlier, Issa's father calls him a "pervert" as he interrogates his parents about whether they have had anal sex.
Shehada Issa has been charged with first-degree murder in his son's death but hasn't been charged in the death of his wife, who was found stabbed to death in the family home. A police spokesman says officers are investigating whether Amir killed his mother before being shot by his father. A next-door neighbor tells the Los Angeles Daily News that the father complained to her about his son's drug use but never mentioned his sexual orientation. "If he killed him because he was gay, he would have killed him earlier," she says. "I still don't believe that he did it. I still can't believe it." Police say that the parents had been trying to sell the home and that officers had been called to the house in the past to help evict the son. (Read more hate crime stories.)