The father of a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy who was fatally stabbed in October has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Chicago landlord who is alleged to have killed his son.
Oday Al-Fayoume, father of Wadea Al-Fayoume, filed the lawsuit last month against Joseph Czuba, 71, over the attack on 14 October.
The youngster was killed after being stabbed 26 times and his mother was seriously injured. Police believe the pair were targeted with violence because of their Muslim faith, following the outbreak of war in the Middle East.
Mr Czuba pleaded not guilty in October to hate crime and murder charges.
Mr Al-Fayoume’s wrongful death lawsuit was filed on 21 November in Will County, Illinois. The suit names Mr Czuba, his wife, Mary Czuba, and their property management company, Discerning Property Management – according to the Associated Press.
Mr Czuba allegedly told his wife to inform Wadea’s mother, Hanaan Shahin, that he wanted the family gone from the apartment where they’d lived for two years. He also allegedly said he was afraid Ms Shahin’s "Palestinian friends were going to harm them," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims Ms Czuba and the management company "were indifferent and failed to recognize a threat and prevent serious bodily harm" to their tenants.
A hearing in the case has been set for 11 March 2024.
Ben Crane, Mr Al-Fayoume’s lawyer said: "Justice comes in many forms — and there is, obviously, unbelievable loss in Wadea, but his mother also was injured seriously, and we believe that there are avenues to recover compensation for what the family’s been through.
According to court records seen by AP, the Czubas do not yet have an attorney in the wrongful death case and Ms Czuba has filed paperwork to divorce her husband.
Mr Czuba remains detained in Will County as he awaits a January hearing in the criminal case. His attorney, George Lenard, told reporters he would not be commenting on the case outside court.
Following the attack in October Ms Shahin told law enforcement that Mr Czuba was upset over the Israel-Hamas war. On the day of the attack, he reportedly visited her apartment and knocked on her door.
When she opened her door he began arguing with her about the situation in Israel and Gaza, and allegedly attacked Ms Shahin and Wadea after she asked Mr Czuba to "pray for peace."
She locked herself in her bathroom and called 911 after breaking away from her attacker, according to CBS News. While she was locked and injured in her bathroom, Mr Czuba allegedly proceeded to stab Wadea 26 times. The boy died from his wounds.
Ms Shahin was unable to attend her son’s funeral due to her injuries.