DEARBORN — Fadi Hassan Faraj, the 35-year-old Dearborn resident who fatally shot Hassan Zeidan, 23, at a pick up basket ball game last July, has finally been sentenced to serve 23-45 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder on June 18 at the Wayne County Circuit Court.
|Hassan Mustapha Zeidan's mother speaks in court Monday.|
The murder had struck a chord with the community, after numerous candle light vigils, billboards and public support wer given in condolences to Zeidan's family. Rumors of Faraj having mental instabilities and temper problems were acknowledged by close friends.
Ironically, Faraj, who is a former boxer, had once dedicated a boxing match in 2007 towards one of his uncles who was shot and murdered at a gas station.
The courtroom was packed with Zeidan's friends and family who were hoping that Faraj would receive the appropriate punishment. Zeidan's mother, Mariam, took the stand to address Faraj before his sentencing.
"If you are man enough, Mr. Faraj, that my son hit you in the face once, get up and hit him 15 times. Get up and knock his teeth out, but don't go and get a gun," Zeidan told Faraj in the courtroom. "You took the life of my 23-year-old, my angel, over a basketball game."
Faraj, who has remained in jail without bail since the incident, did offer the family a brief apology in the courtroom.
"This is a tragedy that should have never happened. I'm sorry...I’m very sorry. I apologize to the mother," Faraj stated.
Up to this point the case had been a frustrating ordeal for the Zeidan family. Last February on a quick decision, Judge Carole Youngblood dismissed the case after prosecutor Lisa Screen was late to the hearing because she was preoccupied with another case in the same building. The decision meant that the entire case had to be re-filed and work its way back into the system, causing a delay for months. In May, Faraj pleaded to second- degree murder after a plea bargain that lowered the initial charge from first-degree murder, allowing him to avoid a lifetime sentencing.
When speaking to Zeidan's mother, she stated that even though she thought Faraj deserves a lifetime sentencing, she accepts the punishment that was given.
"I said to myself 25 years is good for now and god is there and he will punish him every single day in jail," Zeidan stated. "I just want people to know that God was on my side, and this is just one percent of what he will pay for when he answers to god in the afterlife."
Zeidan tells the Arab American News that the family agreed on a plea bargain for numerous reasons. They felt that a trial with a jury determining the verdict and sentencing would be too hard to handle, because they did not want to re-live the entire ordeal of the altercation, which includes video evidence from the scene of the crime. His mother also tells The Arab American News that she was worried that some jurors could find Faraj mentally unstable and not hold him accountable for his actions.
"He is a fully functioning grown man who knew exactly what he was doing," Zeidan stated. "He is an idiot with a huge temper problem and I guarantee you that he will be in there much longer than his sentencing. Any behavior problems and his sentence will be increased."
Zeidan's mother isn't the only one speaking out about the sentencing. Other family members have also shared their feelings about Faraj as well.
"I hope he serves every second of his sentenced term and more. Then we will leave it up to God, for God always has a plan. No justice in this world is good enough for what he has done to our family, may God never forgive him," stated Shadia Makki, a cousin of Zeidan's. "He destroyed every single one of us, young to old. We are a very close and loving family and he has taken away the light of our life, Hassan. Only in time, with God, our family might be able to move on. Keep in mind that Hassan our angel may be gone, but he will never be forgotten."
His mother also states that despite receiving overwhelming support from the community, Faraj and his family have never reached out to the Zeidans.
"None of his family ever approached me, none of them even said, 'I’m sorry for what happened,' and none of them attended any of the memorials we held for my son. That's what makes me know that he comes from a bad family. But even if they did contact me it won't matter, I will never get my son back either way."