Mom of 6-year-old killed in Will County stabbing considered moving days before attack: lawsuit

ByDavid Struett Sun-Times Media Wire logo
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 6:45PM
Vigil held for slain Will County boy as landlord appears in court
Unincorporated Plainfield landlord Joseph Czuba appeared in court Wednesday on charges in the fatal stabbing of Wadee Alfayoumi.

WILL COUNTY, Ill. -- The mother of Wadea Al-Fayoume considered moving them out of their apartment near Plainfield in the days before their landlord allegedly attacked them both, killing the 6-year-old in a suspected hate crime.

Hanan Shaheen became concerned after her landlord said they weren't welcome because they were Palestinian American soon after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and consulted the landlord's wife, according to an amended lawsuit filed on behalf of Shaheen.

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The landlord's wife said they should not move, according to the lawsuit. Instead, the landlord's wife allegedly said her husband should move out and that Shaheen and her son were safe.

The amended lawsuit, filed May 22 in Will County, alleges the wife and brother of Joseph Czuba played accessory roles that led up to the Oct. 14 attack in which Czuba is accused of stabbing Al-Fayoume 26 times because of his ethnicity.

The wrongful death lawsuit was initially filed in late November by the boy's father. The mother was added as the lead plaintiff because she is now seeking to administer the boy's estate, said her lawyer, John M. Simon.

SEE ALSO: Vigil held for slain Muslim boy as unincorporated Plainfield landlord appears in court

Czuba remains jailed in Will County on counts of murder and hate crime. Prosecutors have said Czuba was listening to conservative talk radio that may have radicalized him before the attack. He allegedly feared Al-Fayoume's mother's "Palestinian friends" after the Hamas attack on Israel.

The amended lawsuit contains other new details about the attack, including how Shaheen was bathing Al-Fayoume when Czuba knocked on the door that morning.

When Shaheen opened the door, Czuba allegedly attacked her and stabbed her several times with a knife. Al-Fayoume witnessed the whole attack, the lawsuit states.

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When Czuba left briefly, Shaheen called 911. But before police arrived, Czuba returned and broke through a door and attacked Al-Fayoume, the lawsuit states.

The last words she heard her son say were "Oh no," according to the lawsuit.

She didn't learn her son had died until she was in the hospital.

The amended lawsuit expands the listed defendants to include Czuba's wife, Mary Czuba, and his brother, Daniel Czuba, who allegedly was the real estate agent who recommended Shaheen consider the rental property. The lawsuit alleges Daniel Czuba neglected to disclose "his brother's violent tendencies, temper, and prejudiced beliefs against Arabs and Muslims."

Daniel Czuba's attorney, Tom Scherschel, declined to comment. Mary Czuba's attorney, Brian White, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2024.)