Family: Son killed by neighbor who called him ‘dirty Arab’

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 17:48:11-04

For years, the Jabara family says, their Tulsa neighbor terrorized them.

He called them names — “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” they said.

He hurled racial epithets at those who came to work on their lawns, they alleged.

He ran Haifa Jabara over with his car and went to court for it.

And it all came to a head last week when the man, Stanley Vernon Majors, walked up to the front steps of the family home and shot and killed Khalid Jabara, police said.

“The frustration that we continue to see anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, xenophobic rhetoric and hate speech has unfortunately led up to a tragedy like this,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Tense times

These are tense times for Muslim-Americans — and those perceived to be Muslims. (The Jabaras are Christians of Lebanese descent.)

Ever since the Paris attacks, carried out by extremists hiding behind religion, xenophobic bile has poured out. Then came San Bernardino, and after it anti-Muslim rhetoric from the Trump campaign, and a steady stream of hateful incidents came rolling in.

What makes the Jabara case stand out is authorities had several opportunities to intervene, but appeared to have bungled, the family believes.

“This is troubling at any time, but profoundly disturbing given the current climate of our country and the increase nationally in cases of hate crimes,” the family said.

A long history of harassment

Khalid Jabara’s parents immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s from Lebanon.

They settled in Tulsa and raised three children. One brother became a lawyer, the sister works in marketing, and Khalid Jabara ran the family catering business with his mother.

“He was hilarious, quirky, very intelligent, and really would give all of himself for anyone he loved,” his brother wrote in a Facebook post.

The Jabara family moved into their current home 12 years ago. A few years later, Stanley Majors moved into the house next door.

The harassment and intimidation began almost immediately, they say.

“He’d call us names all the time. ‘You dirty Arabs, get out of here,'” the mother, Haifa Jabara, told CNN.

“I had a guy who mowed our lawn, he’s black. He’d scream, ‘You N-word, get out of here.”

Neighbors lodged several complaints with police against Majors over his behavior.

And in 2013, the family filed a protective order, which forbade Majors from having any contact with the Jabaras.

It didn’t make a difference.

“Every time I came outside at night, he’d scream and yell at me. Scared me to death,” Jabara said.

Attack while awaiting trial

In 2015, Haifa Jabara says she was taking a walk in the neighborhood when Majors ran her over with his car.

“He came from the back and hit me hard,” she said. “I fell on the floor, bloody, bleeding from my head. A lady was passing by, called 911 and rescued me,” she said.

She spent weeks in the hospital with a broken shoulder, collapsed lung and fractured ribs, among other injuries.

Police charged Majors with felony assault. Initially, he was held in custody without bond. But three months ago, against the district attorney’s wishes, a judge allowed his release until his trial in March 2017.

“My family lived in fear of this man and his hatred for years. Yet in May, not even one year after he ran over our mother and despite our repeated protests, he was released from jail with no conditions on his bond — no ankle monitor, no drug/alcohol testing, nothing,” the family said.

Majors was also charged with public intoxication. So, the family can’t understand why a judge would release him without conditions.

“This family did everything they could do. They used every legal avenue they could to protect themselves,” Rebecca Abou-Chedid, a family friend, told CNN.

Majors’ lawyer, Marvin Lizama, said the man had been in good spirits since his release.

“I don’t know what happened last week that could have changed that,” he told CNN.

“Never did I expect Mr. Majors to do something like this. This was unexpected and unfortunate.”

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler released a statement on Tuesday: “Majors presented an obvious public safety risk and we made that argument to the Court. The family did everything they were supposed to do and the system failed them. Once we receive the investigative reports from Tulsa police, we will review them for consideration of charges. Majors is presumed innocent under the law until a judge or jury determines otherwise.”

Family begged for protection

The family feared the harassment would just escalate.

On Friday, the night of his slaying, Khalid Jabara called to tell his mother not to come home because Majors had a gun.

Officers arrived on scene but they couldn’t go inside Major’s home to check, so they left, said police spokeswoman Ashley Leland.

About 10 minutes later, Khalid Jabara was shot while he was on the phone with his mother.

“She heard what no one should ever have to hear,” Abou-Chedid said.

Khalid Jabara died at the hospital.

After the shooting, officers found Majors hiding behind a tree at a library.

He has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. And this time, he’s being held without bail.