Hamad case points to dangers of social media, detective says
By Ed Runyan
If there’s one thing people should take away from the Nasser Hamad aggravated-murder case, it is that people need to make wise decisions on social media, the lead detective in the case said this week.
“The whole thing is a sad state of affairs with bad decision after bad decision,” Howland police Detective Jeff Edmundson said.
“It all could have been avoided. Turn off your Facebook. Block each other” on Facebook, he said.
“Poor decision after poor decision by all involved,” Edmundson said. “Now you have two young men dead, another person possibly going to prison for the rest of his life, multiple family and friends whose lives were negatively affected,” Edmundson said.
“It was a feud over a woman on Facebook that let Nasser’s anger get the better of him that day,” he added.
Hamad was convicted Oct. 30 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court of two counts of aggravated murder and six counts of attempted aggravated murder for fatally shooting two young men and injuring three others who came to his house Feb. 25 in an ongoing feud. He was sentenced Thursday to 36 years to life in prison.
Edmundson said Hamad and his girlfriend’s son, Bryce Hendrickson, 19, started exchanging vulgar and threatening Facebook messages in late January after Bryce, his father, Brian Hendrickson, and brother moved out of their home on Dawson Drive, near Hamad’s house on state Route 46 in Howland.
Bryce accused Hamad and Bryce’s mother, Tracy Hendrickson, who was now dating Hamad, of taking a refrigerator from the Hendrickson home.
Hamad and the Hendricksons already had been feuding for several months because of Tracy’s leaving her husband and dating Hamad. She returned home for a few days in late December and again in early February.
But when she moved in with Hamad in early February, “it all picked up like wildfire,” Edmundson said of the feuding.
Hamad and Tracy Hendrickson testified Brian Hendrickson, his sons and others antagonized her and Hamad, driving past and yelling, throwing trash and other objects into the yard and leaving a threatening message on the doorstep.
Over the course of about a month, from late January to late February, Edmundson estimates Hamad and Bryce Hendrickson also exchanged about 80 threatening messages each on Facebook.
Tracy testified at the trial she had blocked her sons and estranged husband on her cellphone and on social media to some degree, but she still allowed some communication in case there was an emergency.
She said she helped Hamad create his first Facebook account in late January, but Hamad would not have known how to block anyone on the site.
She said she could have blocked Bryce on Facebook for him, but she didn’t because she never expected the feuding to turn violent.
John Shively, 17, a cousin of Bryce Hendrickson’s living in Warren, joined the Facebook conversation Feb. 25, then showed his mother, April Trent-Vokes, the comments Hamad made to him, according to testimony.
Trent-Vokes took Shively and another son, Joshua Haber, 19, plus Bryce Hendrickson and another cousin, Joshua Williams, 20, to Hamad’s house to confront him over the messages.
Haber and Williams were killed, and the others were injured. Bryce Hendrickson died Sept. 30 of a suspected drug overdose.