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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Robbery, Not Religious Fanaticism, Cited in Slaying of Egyptian Family in N.J.; Two Charged

Tampa Bay Online: Robbery, Not Religious Fanaticism, Cited in Slaying of Egyptian Family in N.J.; Two Charged

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - The slaying of an Egyptian family that has caused tension between local Christians and Muslims was motivated by robbery, not religious fanaticism, authorities said.

Two men on parole for drug offenses - one of them the Armanious family's upstairs tenant - were charged with four counts of murder in the killings.

Many in New Jersey's Coptic Christian community had speculated that Hossam Armanious angered Muslims with opinions he posted in Internet chat rooms under the user name "I Love Jesus."

"I'd like to make one thing perfectly clear: The motive for these murders was robbery. This was a crime based on greed, the desperate need of money," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

Authorities said Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their children, Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8, were slain three days before their bodies were found Jan. 14, bound and gagged with puncture wounds to their heads and necks.

In the days after the slayings, about $3,000 was withdrawn from Armanious' bank account using his ATM card, and investigators were able to get surveillance video from cameras over those cash machines, officials said.

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Hard Fact: This chat room service that was initiallysuspected of being linked to this murder is 'Pal Talk'


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