Update: Murder of Coptic Family Confirmed Robbery, Not Hate Crime

March 6, 2005

Source: The New York Times


On March 6, 2005 The New York Times reported, "two former convicts, including an upstairs tenant of the victims, were charged yesterday with binding, gagging and cutting the throats of four members of an Egyptian Coptic Christian family last January in what prosecutors called a robbery that went awry in their Jersey City home. What began as a gunpoint holdup, with the man from upstairs concealing his face with a ski mask, ended tragically when one of the victims, an 8-year-old girl, slipped her bonds and recognized the gunman as her neighbor, officials said... While the brutal killings appeared to have the characteristics of a hate crime and exposed deep fissures between Jersey City's Egyptian Muslim and Coptic Orthodox communities, officials stressed yesterday that it was a bungled robbery, not religious enmities, that had led to the murders of Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their two children, Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8."