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Sex offender kills self

8-29-2011 North Carolina:

RALEIGH -- A convicted sex offender with a history of child molestation offenses dating back to 1995 was scheduled to appear in court Monday on charges of attempted rape and indecent liberties with a child.

Someone instead called 911 Monday morning after finding Michael Assaad Lahoud, 54, dead inside his car at a North Raleigh parking lot.

"It was a suicide," Melanie Shekita, a Wake prosecutor said Monday afternoon. Raleigh (police) are calling it a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

Lahoud was charged between late 2008 and 2009 with 11 counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of attempted rape.

"He was supposed to plead guilty to some of those and go to prison," Shekita said.

Lahoud would have spent between eight and 10 years in prison for the offenses, Shekita said.

The police were notified at 7:53 a.m. about a dead person in the parking lot of an office complex at 7008 Harps Mill Road, Jim Sughrue, a Raleigh police spokesman, said Monday afternoon.

Lahoud of 1905 Grove Point Court was given a deferred prosecution for indecent liberties in 1995, then convicted of four counts of indecent liberties, one in 2002 and three in 2004, according to the N.C. Sex Offender Registry. Prison records show he received probation and suspended sentences and never served time in prison for the offenses.

In 2008, Lahoud's neighbors were baffled by the news of his arrest. They described him as a quiet, churchgoing, hard-working general contractor.

Investigators think the offenses involved at least four juveniles - one girl and three boys.

They think the offenses took place between 2001 and 2006, court records show.

One of the victims, who was 15 when Lahoud was arrested, told investigators that he was fondled by Lahoud at least five times.

Three other teens also told investigators Lahoud fondled them on multiple occasions when they were younger. ..Source.. by

Sex offender landlord dies on eve of court appearance

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Police say they're investigating the death of a Raleigh landlord accused of molesting a tenant's children.

Michael Lahoud, 55, of 1905 Grove Point Ct., Raleigh, was expected to appear in court Monday and likely would have been sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Those who knew Lehoud, say he hated jail and after two months behind bars, he and his family came up with his $2.5M bond.

A mother of one of his alleged victims told ABC11 Eyewitness News, she believed he had molested hundreds of children and knew of over 30.

She said Lehoud molested her son ten years ago when he was a young boy.

After learning of Lahoud's death, the woman says she was happy to tell her son he was found in his car at an office complex on Harps Mill Road near his north Raleigh home. He had been shot to death and although his death is an apparent suicide.

"I've seen jubilation in my son's voice today, and a light that came back that was never there -- that that man took." she said choking up. and a light that came back that was never there - that that man took."

The woman says she is celebrating the news.

"We're celebrating today, celebrating," she said. "This is a celebration. My son and I had this conversation yesterday. We knew we would never see the cuffs on that man."

Even though Lahoud is dead, his latest victims will never get to see him accept responsibility.

"I feel sorry for the children who were expecting to see justice today because they didn't," she added.

Melanie Shekita, the attorney who was prosecuting Lahoud, said it's a sad situation for everyone involved.

"The case has ended. Obviously we couldn't go forward with it," said Wake County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Shekita. "For me, it means another child will never be molested again by him, but it's a sad situation by all involved."

Lahoud, who was listed on North Carolina's sex offender registry, had multiple convictions for indecent liberties with minors. In each case, plea agreements kept him out of jail.

In 2002, he was sentenced to a year of probation for an offense in 2001.

In 2004, he was sentenced to two years of probation for offenses in 1994, 1998, and 2001.

He was rearrested on indecent liberties charges in 2008 and a charge of attempted second-degree rape was added in early 2009.

According to a search warrant filed in his case, Lahoud managed rental properties around Wake County.

While out on bond, he tried to open a daycare center in one of the buildings he owned. He lined up investors but a judge stopped the plan. ..Source.. by Ed Crump

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