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A story moving on Facebook would lead you to believe that an elderly California man was sentenced to death after defending himself when he was ambushed by two Muslim men, but the story is fake news.
"82-year-old who killed a Muslim in self-defense gets the death penalty," said a Jan. 15 headline on The Patriot Report.
The story was previously posted by Ladies of Liberty, a website that defines itself as satire.
Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news. The fake story has several made up details including that the photo of the elderly man reportedly sentenced to death in California is actually of a drug trafficker caught in Kansas.
The story said that in October 2015 William DeLisle of Marina Del Ray, Calif., was walking home from the local senior center when he was ambushed by a pair of young Muslims -- Abdi Nadjeer Hallalla and Mustif Salabu.
DeLisle, a Marine veteran, pulled a .22 from his ankle holster and shot both men within seconds, leaving one dead and the other paralyzed.
The story said that the "Dewey County Prosecutor" said that because the two men were unarmed, the use of deadly force was "extreme and unnecessary."
The photo allegedly of DeLisle matches a photo of Marshall Dion taken in Junction City, Kan., when he was arrested on drug trafficking charges in 2013. Dion had a long, colorful history with law enforcement dating back to 1985 when he crashed an airplane in Wisconsin and crawled away, denying that $112,000 found inside and around the airplane belonged to him. In that incident, the government confiscated the money, suspecting it was drug money, but he wasn’t charged.
We searched the names of the alleged suspects in Nexis and found nothing in news accounts. We found nothing about an elderly William DeLisle in California, however, there was a 19th century British pulp-fiction writer by that name who in one book wrote about whites killing all blacks and Asians to create a paradise.
Fake news purveyors have published many false stories that cast Muslims in a negative light, including one about 412 Muslims arrested in a Michigan bust and another story claiming a Muslim man started a California wildfire.
In this case, the headline that an "82-year-old who killed a Muslim in self-defense gets the death penalty" is also fake news. We rate it Pants on Fire.
The Patriot Report, "82-year-old who killed a Muslim in self-defense gets the death penalty," Jan. 15, 2018
Ladies of Liberty, "UPDATE: 82-Year-Old who killed A Muslim In Self-Defense Gets The Death Penalty," Dec. 7, 2018
Oklahoma Historical Society, Dewey County, Accessed Jan. 24, 2018
Agriculture Census, Dewey County South Dakota, 2012
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, "Hay, William Delisle," April 4, 2017
Boston Globe, "At 79, drug trafficker may still be in business," Nov. 22, 2014
PolitiFact, "Misleading headline says 412 Michigan Muslims busted," Nov. 21, 2017
PolitiFact, "Pants On Fire for claim of Muslim man’s arrest in Northern California wildfires," Dec. 20, 2017
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