TUCSON, Ariz. — 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
Khalifa, 54, was found dead in the kitchen of the mosque on Jan. 31, 1990.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that 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
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.
KVOA-TV reported that Francis worked for a Tucson magazine in January 1990 and
visited the mosque under the pretense of a reporting assignment.