Murder charges in Ky. homeowners meeting shooting

AP News
Posted: Sep 13, 2012 3:58 PM
Murder charges in Ky. homeowners meeting shooting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man with a history of disputes with his neighbors was indicted Thursday on two counts of murder in the shooting of two people at a homeowners association meeting. Prosecutors have classified it as a capital case, allowing them to consider seeking the death penalty.

Mahmoud Yousef Hindi, 55, of Louisville, has been in jail since the shooting last week at a meeting of the Spring Creek Homeowners Association. A judge on Thursday ordered him held without bond and set arraignment for Monday.

Police say Hindi had a history of disputes with the homeowners group over his fence and driveway in the upscale neighborhood. The Sept. 6 shooting killed 73-year-old David Merritt at the scene, and 69-year-old Marvin Fisher died in the hospital two days later from his wounds.

Hindi once worked in nuclear medicine but he quit practicing and gave up his medical license because he suffered from severe depression, according to state records first obtained by The Courier-Journal. His attorneys have said there is another side to the story and that they look forward to their day in court.

Police say Hindi was at the meeting at a church for a short time before he started shooting. Some of the several people in attendance detained him until police arrived.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Susan Schultz Gibson revoked the previously set $1 million bond amount. In a motion, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Ryane Conroy said holding Hindi without bond will allow the trial judge to determine whether he would be released if he asks.

Conroy told Schultz that prosecutors have "serious concerns" about Hindi's danger to the community and that he may be a flight risk because he has family and ties in Jordan as well as a passport.

"The Commonwealth states that no amount of bail set this case is adequate to protect the community, account for the risk of flight or properly reflect the seriousness of the offenses charged," Conroy wrote.

The indictment lists the bare bones facts of what happened at the meeting and few details including the type of weapon used. Hindi also faces seven counts of first-degree wanton endangerment — defined as demonstrating extreme indifference to human life and creating a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.

The shooting came after a year of disagreements between Hindi and the association, with the most recent point of contention being the size and construction of a fence around his home in eastern Louisville and a new driveway.

Hindi complained bitterly about his neighbors and an attorney for the association who sought to have the fence removed because of zoning violations, according to court records.

In a letter Hindi sent on Aug. 25, 2011, which The Associated Press obtained as a public record, Hindi ranted about several neighbors in the upscale community of $300,000 homes. The Spring Creek subdivision in the predominantly upper-middle-class eastern end of Louisville includes stately, two-story brick homes, many valued between $270,000 and $300,000

It has manicured lawns and identical mailboxes. The homeowner's association bylaws, posted on its website, include restrictions on the height, type and placement of fences; grass-cutting regulations (not to exceed 6 inches); and a requirement that every house have at least a two-car garage.

The association's attorney said Hindi wrote several letters about his disputes with the group.

A medical doctor educated in Jordan, Hindi in one letter cited the Quran, the theory of creationism, and the idea that America has moved to Communism. He also threatened to form his own homeowners association and accused neighbors of stealing his "no trespassing signs" during the dispute over the fence. Hindi also wrote that he tried to make peace with the neighbors, but became frustrated.

Hindi also wrote that he had been "biting my teeth and exercising the highest level of self-restraint" in dealing with his neighbors.

"As I always tell ... I will protect the sacred interest of my kids even if it comes to killing and even if I lose my own life in the course of doing so," Hindi wrote. "Thank God the house is paid off. I can pass away in peace with no concerns."

Hindi also referred to a letter from Kelly about the code violation issue as a "stupid terrorist attempt."


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