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

Maher Kawash Image
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
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.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- An unincorporated Plainfield landlord accused in the stabbing death of a 6-year-old boy appeared in court Wednesday.

It was just a pretrial hearing, but the courtroom was still packed with people.

Wadee Al-Fayoumi's father was joined by local faith organizations and community members as they wanted to send a message of support for the family.

All of them held a moment of prayer to start the day.

RELATED: Father of 6-year-old Muslim boy killed in unincorp. Plainfield stabbing speaks with ABC7: EXCLUSIVE

Odai Alfayoumi, the boy's father, also spoke before going into court, saying he's still shaken up and trying to take this all one day at a time.

In court, Joseph Czuba appeared rather quickly as attorneys handled procedural matters.

State prosecutors said they're waiting for the Will County state's attorney to wrap up its investigation so documents can be shared.

Czuba faces first-degree murder charges and two counts of hate crime, which he previously pleaded not guilty to.

State prosecutors accuse him of stabbing the child to death and seriously hurting his mother because they are Muslim.

A translator helped explain what the father wants the world to learn from his son's death, as he spoke in Arabic.

"We must stand together, Muslims and non-Muslims, and condemn all forms of hatred and discrimination," Alfayoumi said. "My son's memory will serve as a reminder that we must keep working to create a more inclusive society."

He went on to say, "I came here, and thought I was going to be alone, but thank God that's not the case. I'm surrounded by people, my family, everyone."

SEE ALSO: Mother of boy killed in unincorp. Plainfield stabbing asks people to 'pray for peace': CAIR-Chicago

The father also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Czuba, his wife, Mary, and their property management company.

The lawsuit alleges that Mary had prior knowledge of Czuba's intentions before the incident happened.

In the meantime, Alfayoumi is hanging onto the memories he has of his little boy.

"He was filled with dreams and aspirations. He loved basketball, soccer and Legos. He carried the bright light of hope wherever he went, and was always smiling," he said.

Czuba is due back in court March 7, and remains in jail without bond.