Faruqis' Killer Not Ill, Doctor Says

Posted: July 13, 1990

The man who fatally stabbed two Islamic scholars in their Cheltenham home in 1986 was motivated by anger, not by mental illness as the defense contends, a forensic psychiatrist testified in Montgomery County Court yesterday.

Psychiatrist Timothy Michals was the final prosecution witness in a hearing to determine whether Joseph L. Young, 44, also known as Yusuf Ali, should receive the death penalty for his crimes. The attorneys will deliver their closing arguments today.

Young showed anti-social tendencies most of his life, Michals said, citing Young's record of convictions for violent crimes dating to 1972.

Nothing corroborated Young's contentions that he suffered from delusions and hallucinations when he committed the murders, Michals said. "What we have is what Mr. Young is telling us."

Young was convicted in Montgomery County Court in 1987 of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in the stabbings of internationally known Islamic scholars Isma'il and Lois al-Faruqi.

On appeal, the state Supreme Court vacated the sentence in March and ordered a new sentencing hearing, stating that the trial judge had improperly instructed the jury during the trial's penalty phase.

The daughters of the slain couple, who were in the house at the time of the attack, recounted on Tuesday how Young had entered the home and committed the slayings during the early-morning hours of May 27, 1986. One of the daughters, who was three months pregnant at the time, testified that Young stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and the arms.

On Wednesday, three mental-health experts - including one originally hired by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office - diagnosed Young as a paranoid psychotic. They said Young suffered from hallucinations and delusions that directed him to kill the couple.

Young believed that the Faruqis were forcing Malaysian students at Temple University, where the couple worked, to have homosexual relations with them in exchange for scholarships, according to the experts' testimony.

But Michals said Young killed the Faruqis because he was angry at Muslim students whom he knew - and who he felt had rejected him - and wanted to get revenge by killing their leader.

Basing his opinion on psychiatric reports performed by other psychiatrists and on 1987 trial testimony, Michals said Young showed aggressive behavior throughout his life. The stabbings were just an escalation of the anger and aggression, said Michals, who never interviewed Young.

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