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The man awaiting trial on charges that he murdered two other men during a homeowners association meeting in September 2012 committed suicide in his Louisville Metro Corrections cell Saturday afternoon, officials said.
Mahmoud Yousef Hindi was found hanging by a bedsheet around 3:55 p.m. — about 10 minutes after staff observed him praying in his cell, according to Corrections Director Mark Bolton.
Workers performed CPR, and Hindi was taken by ambulance to University of Louisville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:45 p.m., according to Bolton.
“The Louisville Metro Police’s Public Integrity Unit is investigating, a standard procedure for any death in the jail, and Metro Corrections staff is also reviewing the case,” Bolton said in a statement.
Hindi, according to court records, has admitted shooting and killing David Merritt, 73, and Marvin Fisher, 69, during a meeting of the Spring Creek Homeowners’ Association at Springdale Community Church in eastern Jefferson County.
A July 2014 trial date had been set for Hindi, who could have faced the death penalty. Hindi also faced seven charges of wanton endangerment.
When reached at home by telephone Saturday night, David Merritt’s widow, Vivian, said she was aware of Hindi’s death but did not wish to comment.
Horacio Urieta, the vice president of the Spring Creek Homeowners’ Association, was stunned upon being told about Hindi’s death by a Courier-Journal reporter.
“I am shocked,” said Urieta, who was at the meeting the night of the shooting. “I can’t even think of words to say right now.”
A woman who answered the phone at the Carmel, Ind., home of Hasan Hindi, Mahmoud Hindi’s brother, was unaware and broke into sobs when told about Mahmoud’s death by a Courier-Journal reporter. She would not give her name and said Hasan Hindi was not home.
Chris Poynter, spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said Hindi was not on suicide watch and was alone in his cell.
Hindi had a history of aggression while incarcerated. He was hospitalized in March after a fight with officers and was charged on New Year’s Day with assault and terroristic threatening after he was accused of throwing water on an officer and threatening to kill him.
In a videotaped interview with police, Hindi calmly said he went to the neighborhood association meeting hoping to resolve issues regarding disputes with Fisher and Merritt over his fence and a second driveway at his home at home at 8412 Running Spring Drive.
But Hindi brought his revolver in a bag and was prepared to kill them — and did.
“I was hoping that I could reason with them,” Hindi told police. “But I said to myself, if they are not going to resolve peace(fully) with me, honestly, I had to kill them. So I took my gun.”
Hindi had been in court with Merritt, Fisher and Spring Creek Homeowners Association attorney Mike Kelly a week before the murders as part of a lawsuit that the homeowners association filed against Hindi over zoning code violations.
During that hearing, Hindi alleged that Kelly was harassing him and his children.
Hindi, who was born and educated in Jordan, threatened in a letter to Kelly to “protect the sacred interest of my kids even if it comes to killing and even if I lose my own life in the course of doing so,” according to court records.
Hindi’s family and attorneys have said he has struggled with mental health problems for years and has been under psychiatric care.
Hindi, a former physician whose specialty was nuclear medicine, had a practice in Mayfield, Ky., until he gave it up because he suffered from severe depression, according to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
In Hindi’s interview with police after the shootings, he said he had taken Prozac since 2008 to treat depression caused by back problems. Hindi also said he had been under a doctor’s care since 2005.
Courier-Journal reporter Peter Smith contributed to this report
Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-582-4232 or @tkonz on Twitter.