Priest’s son charged in death of parents, 5-year-old boy
HOUSTON (AP) — The son of an Episcopal priest has been charged in the brutal killings of his parents and his 5-year-old brother at their Houston apartment, police said Wednesday.
Israel Ahimbisibwe, 51, his wife Dorcus Ahimbisibwe, 47, and their son Israel Ahimbisibwe, Jr. were found dead in their apartment Monday morning.
Authorities arrested Ahimbisibwe’s son, Isaac Tiharihondi, about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi. The 19-year-old remained jailed in Mississippi pending extradition to Houston. He has been charged with two counts of capital murder.
According to court documents, Tiharihondi had told his family he had joined the Marines and was about to report to duty on Friday.
But his parents thought he was lying and had planned to confront him about this before they were killed, according to an affidavit. Police said the U.S. Marine Corps had no record of Tiharihondi ever enlisting.
Authorities allege Tiharihondi beat his parents to death with a lamp, a baseball bat and a hammer. The couple had “blunt force trauma to their heads,” according to the affidavit.
Israel Jr. was stabbed and had wounds to his neck and back. Autopsy reports have not yet been completed on the couple and their son. The couple also has a 17-year-old son who was attending boarding school in California at the time of their deaths.
Israel Ahimbisibwe, who served as Vicar at Houston’s Church of the Redeemer, was described by friends and parishioners as a humble and caring man who had come to the United States after fleeing the violence of dictator Idi Amin’s regime in his native Uganda.
“He was literally running for his life from the troops of Idi Amin,” said the Rev. Howard Castleberry, a friend of Ahimbisibwe for many years. “He was a very joyful man.”
His parishioners became worried when he and his family didn’t show up for church on Sunday.
Dick Bird, the congregation’s treasurer, said a couple of parishioners who lived near Ahimbisibwe went to his apartment on Sunday but no one answered the door. Church members waited until Monday morning and when they still couldn’t contact Ahimbisibwe, they called police.
“We’re still in shock and we still can’t believe it,” Bird said. “He really cared about his flock.”
Castleberry, who runs an Episcopal church in Nacogdoches, said he was shocked by Tiharihondi’s arrest.
Castleberry said the last time he saw Ahimbisibwe was in October at a retreat for clergy and the only thing he had mentioned about Tiharihondi was that his son was going to join the Marines.
“He didn’t sound terribly excited about it but he wasn’t upset by it,” Castleberry said.
Castleberry said he had not seen Tiharihondi or his two brothers in several years but he remembered “they were a joy to watch growing up.”
“It was a happy house. Dorcus loved to laugh. There was no indication of anything sad or dysfunctional going on,” he said.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70