The Main Stream

Dec 19, 2012 11:22 PM

Man convicted in 1990 murder

TUCSON (AP) - A man was convicted Wednesday of killing an Arizona imam over his religious teachings more than two decades ago.

Jurors in Pima County Superior Court deliberated about three hours Wednesday before finding Glen Francis guilty of first-degree murder in the 1990 death of Dr. Rashad Khalifa.

Francis, 52, faces up to life in prison with possible parole after 25 years when he's sentenced Jan. 28.

Francis was accused of stabbing Khalifa nearly 30 times at the Masjid of Tucson.

Khalifa, 54, was found dead in the kitchen of the mosque on Jan. 31, 1990.

The imam also had been beaten and doused with a flammable solvent by the killer, who turned on the gas stove's burners in the mosque in an apparent attempt to destroy the crime scene.

Attorneys for both sides said Khalifa likely was killed because of his religious teachings.

After studying the Quran for years, Khalifa reportedly found a mathematical code and came to believe two verses were satanic. In his English translation of the Quran, Khalifa removed those verses and he also taught that people should follow the word of God and not that of human beings.

Francis wasn't arrested in the case until April 2009 when he was located in Canada living under an assumed name. A Canadian court didn't clear him for extradition until 2010.

Tucson police said Francis was named a suspect after the FBI matched his fingerprints and DNA to the victim.

Francis worked for a Tucson magazine in January 1990 and visited the mosque under the pretense of a reporting assignment.

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