Father Kills Self, Family Over Debt

ByABC News
November 21, 2000, 5:49 PM

F A R M I N G T O N   H I L L S, Mich., Nov. 21 -- A man who came home from LasVegas distraught over gambling debts killed his pregnant wife andthree children, then shot himself to death, police said today.

A maid found the bodies in their beds in the familys neat brickhome in this Detroit suburb shortly after noon.

A suicide note left open and held down with salt and peppershakers was found on the kitchen counter.

In it, 42-year-old Jihad Hassan Moukalled expressed remorseabout gambling debts and clearly indicated he was sorry he had totake the lives of his wife and children, Police Chief WilliamDwyer said.

The victims were identified as his wife, Fatima, 31; daughterAya, 7; son Adam, 5; and daughter Lila, who would have turned 3 onSaturday.

Struggling BusinessDwyer said Moukalled, who owns an Oak Park printing business,put his gambling debts at close to $100,000, but Im sure itsmuch higher.

Over the past two years, hes been making weekly trips to LasVegas and Atlantic City, gambling large sums of money, Dwyersaid. According to a statement by one of the relatives, he wasgambling all over the place.

Moukalled had returned home at 4 a.m. today from a three-daytrip to Las Vegas.

The parents apparently were shot to death with a gun found inthe mans hands, Dwyer said. The children appeared to have beensuffocated.

Brenda Williams, a next-door neighbor, said Moukalled had toldher husband in recent weeks that his business had been struggling.Dwyer said the company amassed $500,000 in debts.

The family was last seen Monday night by the maid when she leftthe house.