Father intentionally drove sons off California pier, killing them: Prosecutors

PHOTO: Divers emerge from the water as debris believed to be from a car floats to the surface, where a car went off a pier and into the water, in Los Angeles San Pedro harbor district, April 9, 2015.PlaySteve Mccrank/The Orange County Register via AP, FILE
WATCH News headlines today: Nov. 19, 2019

A California father intentionally drove his wife and children off a pier, killing his two sons with autism, in an effort to collect accidental death insurance, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Ali Elmezayen, 44, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for killing his two young sons in 2015 when he allegedly drove the family's car off the pier at the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.

His sons, 8-year-old Abdelkrim and 13-year-old Elhassan, drowned in the April 2015 crash, but Elmezayen's wife survived thanks to a fisherman who came to her rescue.

PHOTO: Divers emerge from the water as debris believed to be from a car floats to the surface, where a car went off a pier and into the water, in Los Angeles San Pedro harbor district, April 9, 2015. Steve Mccrank/The Orange County Register via AP, FILE
Divers emerge from the water as debris believed to be from a car floats to the surface, where a car went off a pier and into the water, in Los Angeles' San Pedro harbor district, April 9, 2015.

Prosecutors said Elmezayen collected more than $260,000 in insurance payouts after the children's deaths.

Elmezayen purchased insurance policies worth $6 million in coverage on himself, his domestic partner and his children in 2012 and 2013, ABC's Los Angeles station KABC reported, citing a criminal complaint.

He allegedly paid nearly $6,000 on those policies despite earning less than $30,000 a year at the time, according to KABC.

Elmezayen is currently in federal custody on insurance fraud charges, but he's expected to stand trial on the murder charges once the current case is completed.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death, if convicted as charged.

California has a moratorium on the death penalty, but defendants can still be sentenced to death in court proceedings.