Hassani Hassani is arraigned for double torture killings at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett on Sept. 18. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Hassani Hassani is arraigned for double torture killings at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett on Sept. 18. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Second Mukilteo killer sentenced in pair of torture murders

A judge handed down a 35-year sentence to Hassani Hassani for the murder of Ezekiel Kelly of Everett.

EVERETT — A Mukilteo man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday for murdering a man, in the second of a pair of torture killings.

Family of Ezekiel Kelly brought a poster-sized photo to the courtroom, showing their loved one in a purple dress shirt and tie, beside a colorful bouquet of flowers, in a white-cushioned casket.

Kelly, 22, of Everett, was a student.

He’d enrolled in a robotics program for people with autism at a local community college.

He had a young daughter.

Hassani was part of the group of people who abducted and tortured Kelly in early July of last year. Kelly was found dead at a vacant house along Beverly Park Road. He’d been stabbed 27 times. Brown packing tape was wrapped around his neck. He’d been shot three times in the head.

Hassani, now 21, fired those fatal shots.

The same gun had been used to kill Mohamed Adan days earlier, June 30, on the outskirts of Blue Stilly Park near Arlington.

Hassani’s friend Anthony Hernandez-Cano, 18, was sentenced to life in prison for both murders in October.

Both men held petty grudges against Adan, 21, of Seattle.

Hassani claimed Adan tried to kiss his girlfriend. Hernandez-Cano believed Adan “snitched” on him for violating a court order. Hassani helped his friend find Adan that day, but he did not get in the car driven by Hernandez-Cano’s girlfriend, Lendsay Meza, according to charging papers.

On a car ride to rural north Snohomish County, Hernandez-Cano beat him and burned him on the face with a lit cigarette.

“Finish him for me,” Hassani texted his friend, just before the fatal shots were fired. Hernandez-Cano shot him seven times.

He later came to suspect it was actually Kelly who reported him to police, according to court papers.

The defendants were drinking and smoking on July 2, when Hernandez-Cano mentioned they should “go look for E,” meaning Ezekiel Kelly.

They found him in front of a pizza restaurant and ordered him to get in the car. Kelly obeyed. Hassani, Hernandez-Cano and Meza took him to a forested area, beat him with a baseball bat and got back in the Saturn, according to the charges.

The two men sandwiched Kelly in the back seat. Hernandez-Cano used Hassani’s dagger to stab Kelly over and over. They took him to the empty house, where Hernandez-Cano handed his gun over to Hassani and told him to shoot.

In an interview with detectives, Hassani said he did it because he wanted to be “cool” and “tough” like Hernandez-Cano.

“‘Cause he’s always talking about he did this and this, and I never did anything like it,” he said, according to court papers.

Hassani pleaded guilty in February to first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.

Both convictions were for Kelly’s death.

The alleged driver, Meza, was charged with aggravated murder. She’s awaiting trial.

Deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson told the court Monday that Hernandez-Cano — who is “truly a monster” — had been behind both murders.

“Mr. Hassani jumped in and did his part,” he said. “There is absolutely no doubt about that.”

Ezekiel’s mother, LaTonage Kelly, fought past tears in court Monday, as she tried to put into words the pain of the loss of her only child.

It’s not fair, she said, that Kelly’s daughter will grow up without a father.

“Your family will be able to see you whenever,” she told Hassani. “We’ll have to go to the grave site to talk to (our son).”

Hassani was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. He later immigrated to the United States. The public defender, Donald Wackerman, said his youth had been marked by trauma.

Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis said while he may have faced difficulties, every school child knows not to take another human’s life.

The judge had read through a stack of letters from Kelly’s family, friends and mentors.

“Mr. Hassani, I don’t know if you’ve read these letters,” Ellis said.

“Yes, ma’am, I have,” Hassani replied.

“They reflect the unfathomable burden that you have placed on them by taking Mr. Kelly away, brutally, impetuously, maliciously — and leaving in the wake of your decision, this lifelong grief,” Ellis said.

The judge had looked through many photos, too, that the family shared of Kelly’s life.

“One of the most beautiful ones of your son was a picture of him with his baby girl,” Ellis said. “He looks like a very happy dad in that picture, and I hope you all have many more pictures like that, to carry with you.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
County OKs hotel-shelter purchases, won’t require drug treatment

Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring efforts failed to delay the vote and failed to require residents to get addiction treatment.

In a nearly empty maternity wing, Chief Administrative Officer Renée Jensen talks about how it has been almost nine years since east-county mothers could give birth at EvergreenHealth Monroe on Monday, April 1, 2019 in Monroe, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
EvergreenHealth Monroe seeks Community Advisors to guide services

Applications for the volunteer positions are due by Sept. 16.

Arlington
1 dead in fire at Arlington RV park

Authorities believe the fatal fire early Wednesday was an accident.

Patrick Diller, head of community partnerships for Pallet, discusses the Pallet Shelter Pilot Project last June in Everett. (Katie Hayes / Herald file) June 29, 2021
State laws prompt changes in Everett city rules for shelters

The city is considering revisions to issue permits more quickly for emergency shelters.

Most Read