Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 5, 2010

Mother addresses her son's killer

MOUNT CLEMENS — Doreen Landry had waited months for this moment — the chance to address the man convicted of kidnapping and killing her 21-year-old son during a crime spree that one judge said put an entire community "on edge."

She had been disturbed by Ihab Maslamani's actions throughout his murder trial in the death of Matt Landry, whose body was found in August 2009 in a vacant, burned out house in Detroit. At a hearing Thursday where the 18-year-old was sentenced to life in prison, Landry faced Maslamani and told him of the hurt he caused.

"You've smiled at my family. You've smiled for the camera," she said, looking him in the face from several feet away. "What I wanted to say to you is: 'Who's smiling now?' But I can't. Nobody has won here. Nobody."

Not my family. Not you.

"We know now the pain's not going to go away, we're just going to learn to live with it."

Landry was kidnapped at random in an Eastpointe sub shop parking lot, north of Detroit, and held in the vacant house before being shot in the head, authorities said.

A jury found Maslamani guilty last month in Landry's death and other charges related to a string of violent crimes that summer, including a bold bank holdup where patron Sarah Maynard's life was threatened.

On Thursday, he also received sentences of various prison lengths for those crimes.

"The day Ihab held a gun to my head, it shattered my life," a teary Maynard read from a statement at his sentencing. "There's not a day that goes by where I don't have flashbacks. There was a period where I was too scared to sleep in my house. When Ihab robbed that bank, he robbed me of living a normal life."

Defense attorney Joseph Kosmala told Judge Diane Druzinski that Maslamani made his own "choices," but detailed a childhood of neglect and abuse in which his client's parents in the Middle East, relatives in the U.S. and others had failed him. Maslamani, of Flint, is a native of Lebanon who came to the U.S. in 2000.

"He was punished by being sat on a stool in a room, having his sandals removed and told that if he got off the stool, they'd let the rats loose to eat his feet," Kosmala said. "That's Ihab as a child."

Maslamani told the judge he took full responsibility for his criminal actions, but killing Landry wasn't one of them.

"I'm not going to use my past as an excuse for my behavior," said Maslamani, who was shackled, wearing a waist chain and close-fitting leg irons. "Murder is not something I committed. I'm hurt, too. There's false allegations on me."

Kosmala has said no evidence ties Maslamani to the killing. A second man, 17-year-old Robert Taylor, also faces a murder charge in Landry's death. Taylor's trial is scheduled for Dec. 1.

Druzinski appeared unmoved by Maslamani's statement.

"Any of our sons or daughters could have been victims of your actions," she said. "There's absolutely no reason that's ever going to explain your actions. There's a lot of people that have less than ideal upbringings and parents and circumstances, but they don't behave the way that you did."

After the sentencing, Kosmala told reporters Maslamani requested that paperwork be started for an appeal and repeated his client's hardships as a youth.

"His past led almost inevitably to this conclusion," Kosmala said. "There was no other way it was going to end."

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