Life in prison for US man who killed Lebanese neighbor

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Victoria Jabara Williams, from left, with her brother Rami Jabara and his wife Jenna Carl Jabara talk about the murder sentence against Stanley Vernon Majors for the killing of Khalid Jabara after the trial at the Tulsa County Courthouse in Tulsa, Okla., in this Feb. 7, 2018 photo. (AP)
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This Aug. 12, 2016, file photo provided by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office shows Stanley Vernon Majors, of Tulsa, Okla. (AP)
Updated 21 February 2018
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Life in prison for US man who killed Lebanese neighbor

CHICAGO: An Oklahoma man convicted of the hate-motivated killing of his Lebanese American neighbor was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.
Stanley Majors was convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder for fatally shooting his next-door neighbor in the city of Tulsa, because of his hatred of the neighbor’s Lebanese descent.
Khalid Jabara, 37, was killed on the front porch of his family home in August 2016, just minutes after calling police to report that his threatening neighbor had a gun.
Majors had tormented the Jabara family for years, according to prosecutors, calling them “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese” and “Mouslims.”
The Jabaras are Christian and had fled Lebanon’s civil war decades ago to avoid religious persecution.
The 63-year-old was also sentenced for the hate crime charge of malicious intimidation or harassment.
The Jabara family said the hate crime charge sent an important message.
“We believe that as a community we have to pay attention to our thoughts, as they become our words, our words as they become our actions. We must hold each other accountable,” the victim’s sister Victoria Jabara Williams told reporters after Majors’s conviction.
“The rhetoric that’s going on in our community and nationally, and globally, I think it’s more important than ever that we say something when we hear something,” she said.
At the time of the shooting, Majors was out on bail after serving prison time for striking Jabara’s mother with his car. He was also under a protective order that barred him from having a firearm.
Prosecutors had asked the presiding judge to show no mercy to Majors because he had expressed no remorse for his actions, according to the Tulsa World newspaper.
His defense argued that Majors was a mentally ill gay man who feared Muslims would harm him because of his sexuality. His mistaken belief that the Jabaras were Muslim drove him to his violent actions, they claimed.
Majors’s attorney Justin Smith planned to appeal the conviction.
“We still are under the impression and belief that our client has a severe mental illness,” Smith said, according to CNN.


Pardoned Australian filmmaker to be deported from Cambodia

In this Aug. 29, 2018, file photo, Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, right, is helped off a prisoner truck upon his arrival at Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Pardoned Australian filmmaker to be deported from Cambodia

  • Ricketson repeatedly insisted he had no political agenda and his work making documentary films was journalistic in nature

PHNOM PEHN, Cambodia: An Australian filmmaker was awaiting deportation from Cambodia on Saturday after receiving a royal pardon for his conviction on spying charges for flying a drone over a political rally.
A spokesman for immigration police said that James Ricketson will be deported on Saturday morning, a day after being released from prison.
“We are now checking a flight for him,” Gen. Keo Vanthan told The Associated Press.
Ricketson, 69, was sentenced to six years in a trial his sympathizers described as farcical because prosecutors never specified whom he was spying for and failed to present evidence that he possessed or transmitted any secrets. He had been detained without bail since June last year in harsh conditions.
He was arrested after flying a drone to photograph a rally of the Cambodian National Rescue Party — the only credible opposition party that was later dissolved by the courts at the instigation of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
His pardon is the latest in a series of releases of political prisoners after the ruling party’s landslide victory in a July election that critics and observers said was deeply flawed.
Ricketson repeatedly insisted he had no political agenda and his work making documentary films was journalistic in nature.
His Aug. 31 conviction was met with only lukewarm public concern from Australia’s prime minister and foreign minister. Their public stance was criticized, but also led to speculation that an understanding might have been reached with Cambodian authorities for Ricketson’s early release.
Ricketson’s lawyer, Kong Sam Onn, said Friday that his client would go first to Phnom Penh and then travel to Australia.
“James will go back to his home country after he is released, but later he will be back to Cambodia because the pardon letter doesn’t bar him from re-entering Cambodia,” he said. However, there is no official statement guaranteeing he will be readmitted.
Ricketson had said during his trial that he wished to re-establish a project that he had launched before his arrest to buy some land to resettle several poor Cambodian families who have been living at a garbage dump. He and several character witnesses had testified that he provided financial assistance to several poverty stricken Cambodians.