This is an end to a very long case that started with the death of an Imam in 1990, from Jihad Watch:
Rashad Khalifa may be the first person murdered on American soil for heretical Islamic teachings, but he will almost certainly not be the last. “Man convicted in imam’s 1990 slaying,” by Kim Smith for the Arizona Daily Star, December 20: Nearly 23 years after Rashad Khalifa was stabbed and beaten to death, the man accused of doing it has been convicted of premeditated, first-degree murder.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Casey McGinley told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday that “every piece of evidence, every witness and every analysis” pointed to Francis as the killer.
Khalifa’s body was found in the kitchen of an East Sixth Street mosque on Jan. 31, 1990. The imam had been stabbed 29 times, beaten and doused with a flammable solvent by a killer who turned on a gas stove’s burners in an apparent attempt to destroy the crime scene.
Attorneys for both sides agreed Khalifa, 54, was likely killed because of his religious teachings. After studying the Quran for years, he found a mathematical code and came to believe two verses were satanic. In his English translation of the Quran, he removed those verses. He also taught that people should follow the word of God and not that of human beings.
“His attacker was filled with anger and he was filled with rage and he was filled with the want and desire to kill,” McGinley said.
McGinley told jurors the evidence showed Francis moved to Tucson under an assumed name with the express desire to kill Khalifa. He rented an apartment, got a job and a driver’s license so he could easily join Khalifa’s congregation and get to know the layout of the mosque and Khalifa’s schedule.
Mahmoud Abib, a friend of Khalifa’s, was the first person to realize Francis might have had something to do with Khalifa’s death, McGinley reminded jurors.
Abib recalled how Francis wanted to know more about the Quran but would argue about what it says, McGinley said. Francis also knew how to pray distinct prayers and seemed more interested in the layout of the mosque than the lectures….
Daniel Pipes gives a little background to Rashad’s heresy that triggered his death from a death cult (from August 1993):
At other times, American violence involving immigrants concerns faith more than ethnicity, as showed by the tragic example of Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian biochemist who settled in Tucson, Arizona. Khalifa studied the Qur’an in an effort to teach Islam to his wife, an American woman, and his children. Being a scientist, he turned his methodology to the Qur’an and found, though a numerological analysis by computer, that the number nineteen provides a key to its contents. (This was not new; computers had led other numerologists to the same conclusion.) Muslims initially received this conclusion amicably, indeed with considerable enthusiasm, but Khalifa then took his theory of nineteen too far when he calculated the exact date of the Day of Judgment using his formulae. Already, mainstream Muslims denounced his efforts as “a shoddily concocted hoax.” Khalifa took his next step off the beaten path in concluding that the schema of nineteens excluded the final two ayats (verses) of Sura 9 and made this worse when he published a Qur’an without those two ayats. Finally, Khalifa declared himself a prophet (nabi), just about the most serious offense in Islam, which holds Muhammad to be the “seal of the prophets.” On 27 February 1989, the 11th Majlis al-Fuqaha’ (Council of Religious Scholars) met in Mecca and branded Khalifa an infidel (kafir). A year later he was dead, murdered by unknown assailants, presumably orthodox Muslims angered by his teachings.