This week on The Case That Haunts Me, Detective Steve Kovach talks us through the targeted murder of 39-year-old convenience store clerk and father of four, Awad Abdalla, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1991.
Abdalla was an immigrant from the Middle East who was working his last shift at the store before moving onto another job when he was callously gunned down.
The killer marched into the convenience store with a machine gun and announced that he was robbing the place. Abdalla’s colleague opened the cash register for the perpetrator, who took a handful of cash.
Then, instead of helping himself to the remaining cash, he shot Abdalla without any warning. Abdalla was hit four times, twice in the chest and twice in the head.
Abdalla’s colleague believed he would be next; however, the suspect then left the store without saying a word. The investigators quickly determined this was no ordinary grocery store robbery but was actually a targeted execution.
Police instantly ruled out the colleague of having anything to do with the murder as he appeared in complete shock.
On learning that Abdalla’s estranged wife stood to benefit from a comprehensive life insurance policy, investigators began to wonder if she had anything to do with the murder.
Abdalla owed people money in Montreal
They subsequently learned that Abdalla and his family had initially moved to Montreal, where he had made a string of disastrous business investments causing the family to lose all their money.
He owed money to numerous people, so he decided to move to Hamilton to try to earn cash back and fix his marriage. His wife stayed in Montreal with the kids.
The discovery of the murder weapon led to police to further investigate Abdalla’s contacts and creditors in Montreal. They eventually came across a man who they knew to have been in touch with one of Abdulla’s creditors.
The police were also able to place Shawn Jeffries in Hamilton at the time of the murder, and he matched the description provided by Abdalla’s colleague. Under interrogation, Jeffries admitted to pulling the trigger.
Jeffries told the officers he had been paid to execute the killing by a man called Maurice Mourad. However, Mourad was just a middle man who had been paid by someone else to organize the execution. Unfortunately, Mourad perished in a house fire shortly after the murder.
Officers believe that the true orchestrator was Edgard Elias. He had been a so-called family friend, and they suspect that he hoped to later coerce the life insurance money out of Abdalla’s wife. Unfortunately, he managed to escape the country before the police could arrest him.
Jeffries was charged with second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Edgard Elias remains on the run.
More from The Case That Haunts Me
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled from Canada.
The murder of pregnant wife, mother, and school teacher, Manjit Panghali, in October 2016 shocked her community in Delta, British Columbia. The shocking revelations only continued when her husband, Mukhtiar Panghali, was charged and convicted of the crime.
Louise Ellis was working on a book about a prison inmate when she met Brett Morgan, who was serving time for robbery and fraud. The two of them fell in Love, and she played a role in helping him to secure an early release. Morgan repaid her by murdering her and dumping her remains on the road.
The Case That Haunts Me airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.