The Jabara family sits with a photo of Khalid. From left: Victoria, Mounha, Haifa, Rami, and his wife, Jenna.
Family blames justice system for son's death
04:35 - Source: CNN
Tulsa, Oklahoma CNN  — 

The family raised so many alerts about their neighbor. Why was nothing done to stop him?

They told police about the barrage of racist taunts coming from next door, but the hate persisted. They got a protective order to keep him away, but nothing changed. They complained he wasn’t complying – and then he allegedly ran down their mother with his car.

Even after that, he was let out of jail on bail and allowed to return home next door. And now he’s accused of killing their son.

The family now wants to know: Why did it take the death of Khalid Jabara for people to notice the opportunities that had been missed to stop a hateful man? They say his death is proof that words matter and hate speech should be taken more seriously.

“How many red flags does it take to keep somebody that’s obviously dangerous to the community, to the public in general, who’s a flight risk … How many red flags does it take to keep this guy in custody so that he can face trial?” asks Jabara’s younger brother, Rami. “It’s like the law can’t catch up with him.”

Khalid Jabara was shot on his family's porch. His neighbor is accused of his murder as a hate crime.

His family say Khalid Jabara was everything their neighbor wasn’t.

“Very compassionate, very loving, very caring,” Haifa Jabara says about her eldest son. “He had no enemies. He had no problem with anybody.”

As for Stanley Vernon Majors, who lived next door with his husband, Haifa Jabara asks, “Why is there so much hate in him? What did we do? Nothing.”

From slurs to violence

The road to tragedy started with racial slurs.

According to the Jabara family, Majors would stand on their adjoining property line, their lawn or their driveway or on their quiet Tulsa suburban street and shout that they were “dirty Arabs.” He called them “Mooslems,” and “dirty Lebanese.” He apparently had no idea, nor did he care to find out, that they were Christians who fled civil war and religious persecution in Lebanon decades ago.

Neighbors say Majors’ slurs and racist remarks were sometimes directed at others as well. They recalled him repeatedly shouting at a man who cuts their lawns, calling him a n***er. And the time he called a couple on the street “dirty Mexicans,” though they weren’t from Mexico.

But they agree the Jabara family bore the brunt of Majors’ anger.

For five years, Haifa Jabara says she and her family were harassed repeatedly by Majors. And when they called police, the family says, Majors would retaliate with complaints against them.

Tulsa Police Detective David Walker says the number of calls between the two households was enough that anyone patrolling the area would have known about the issues between them.

In November 2013, Haifa Jabara grew tired of Majors’ harassment and got a protective order against him. He was to stop communicating with the family and to remain 300 yards away from Haifa Jabara or at least 25 feet away when he was home on the property adjacent to the Jabara house. In addition, he was prohibited from possessing any firearms for five years.

Instead of calming or stopping the behavior though, it may have exacerbated it, the family says.

“We realized every time we call the cops, whether if it was right away or a few weeks later, he would retaliate with something crazy, crazier, and be angrier,” says Victoria Jabara Williams, Haifa’s daughter and Khalid’s sister.

Stanley Vernon Majors, now accused of murder as well as attacking a woman with his car.

Majors took out his own protective order against Khalid Jabara. He lied that the family left trash outside his window so he would have to smell it, Haifa Jabara says.

And he didn’t let up with the verbal abuse, Haifa Jabara told police, yelling racial slurs at her as she stood in her driveway and threatened to kill her. He was charged with violating the protective order but still allowed to live next door.

Then, one evening in September 2015, Haifa Jabara went for a walk to get some exercise. She used the time to call her son Rami, to talk about his upcoming wedding.

A car struck her.

“I just hear screaming … I could obviously tell it was her. I had no idea what was going on,” Rami Jabara says.

Officers found Majors that evening, appearing drunk and urinating in public. He later asked about Haifa by name, according to police accounts of the event, and made comments about her and her family as “filthy Lebanese.” He was arrested and charged for the hit and run.

Today, Haifa Jabara stands at the spot where she was hit, still incredulous about what happened. She calls Majors “the monster” or “the criminal.” She refuses to utter his name.

“He has no heart,” she says.

She describes the aftermath – a brain hemorrhage, being in critical condition with broken ribs, a broken ankle and damaged shoulder and points towards a scar down the side of her arm from yet another broken bone.

A severely injured Haifa Jabara lies in the ICU the day after she is hit by a car.

But there was also a sense of relief. She and her family assumed the worst was over. Majors would be behind bars before a trial, at which they hoped he would be convicted and then finally leave them alone.

“I said it’s done, he did what he wants to do. And that’s it,” Haifa Jabara says. “Now that he hit me … he’s not going to do anything else.”

How a bond hearing changed everything

For eight months, the process the Jabaras imagined played out. Majors was charged in connection with the hit and run and jailed as he awaited trial.

But then he came home. He’d been released on $30,000 bond on the charge of assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

The Jabaras couldn’t believe it. The man charged with attacking Haifa Jabara was back next door. They begged the district attorney’s office to go back to court to get bond revoked or reconsidered.

At that bond hearing, the judge was told Majors was a dangerous man, with a prior conviction of threatening with intent to terrorize someone in California. That he was a flight risk. That hitting Haifa Jabara was an intentional act and it was likely he would be convicted.

During the discussion, Majors jumped in and offered to move, according to a transcript of the hearing. But the idea was tabled for attorneys to work out later. It is unclear from records if it was pursued and nobody CNN has spoken with has been able to clarify what happened.

In the end, Judge William LaFortune allowed Majors to remain on bond. But he doubled the bond to $60,000, and issued a stern warning.

“I am very concerned with you out of custody and living next door to the victim and the victim’s family of what might happen on any given day given this history,” the judge said, according to the transcript. “I’m just putting you on notice there cannot be any, even a hint… of contact, attempted contact et cetera with this family or this victim’s family.”

Majors replied: “Yes, your honor.”

With their nemesis again just feet away, the Jabara family debated moving, but the parents resisted. After all, what more could Majors do?

‘Lost in the shuffle’

Two months later, Haifa Jabara heard the sound of her son being killed.

Khalid Jabara had called his mother to warn her. “He said mom, don’t come home… he said because [of] the neighbor,” Haifa Jabara says.

She called Khalid back every 10 or 15 minutes to see if it was safe to return.

“He kept telling me don’t come home, don’t come home,” Haifa Jabara says. “Then the last call, I called him, and [Majors] came [and] attacked him while I was on the phone.”

"He had no enemies," Haifa Jabara says of her "very caring" son, Khalid.

It is alleged that Majors had gotten into a dispute with his husband, Stephen Schmauss, taken a gun owned by Schmauss and fired off rounds in his home. Schmauss fled. Some time later, Majors marched over to the Jabara house, police say, still armed with the gun, and shot Khalid Jabara as he stood on the front porch.

Khalid Jabara died at a hospital from his wounds.

A previous attorney for Majors filed paperwork showing he intended to argue at trial that Majors was not guilty by reason of insanity.

Majors’ current attorney, public defender Richard Koller, declined an interview with CNN at his client’s request. Koller later filed a request for a gag order, saying he was concerned about media coverage tainting the jury pool. A judge has not ruled on the order. The trial, where Major will answer to first degree murder and hate crime charges, is scheduled for November.

Compounding the loss of a son and brother for the Jabaras are the questions about what else could or should have been done.

Victoria, Rami and Khalid Jabara celebrate at Rami's wedding.

“He came here!” Haifa Jabara says angrily about Majors allegedly coming onto her property to kill her son. “What is this protective order? What does that mean? Is that a joke? Really? It’s just [a] joke.”

Her daughter Victoria Jabara Williams doesn’t understand how a violent felon was able to post bond and return home next door to his alleged victim.

“We are the victims. And we look towards our city officials who are more well versed in the judicial and criminal system to help protect us. And I feel that didn’t happen at all,” Jabara Williams adds. ” It was just a system failure. And we got lost in the shuffle.”

Tulsa detective Walker said there were no easy answers, “but to say that there’s nothing that we could have done different on this one would be a lie.”

“You start looking at the types of calls and the opportunities for intervention, you learn from it,” he says.

“I don’t want to sound like it’s their fault, because it is absolutely not their fault,” Walker says. “But I don’t know that you can legislate us being able to go, us being law enforcement, to go into every drunk … mean person and take their guns and put them in some sort of institute.

“It hurts some, but we again have to go on and prevent the next one, and that’s what I think to make Jabara’s death meaningful,” Walker says.

For the Jabara family, the sense of loss is permanent.

They will never see Khalid fully live the American dream they worked so hard to build for him after fleeing Lebanon, where they hid in basements as bombs went off and where Haifa Jabara always wondered if her children would return safe from school.

All they wanted, Haifa Jabara says, was to build a life for their family “to live in peace and be safer then Lebanon.”

“And we discovered that it wasn’t safer for us at least,” she says. “We love this country and it’s beautiful, but that’s what happened to us.”