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CLAYTON • A judge has set an April 16 trial date for a man accused of flourishing a handgun at a Muslim family who were house-shopping in his South County neighborhood in 2016.

Leonard Debello, 73, of the 4300 block of Big Chief Drive, faces a charge of unlawful use of a weapon motivated by discrimination. Police said in February 2016 he drove by a couple and their four young children and shouted “You Muslim? All of you should die," then parked in his driveway, retrieved a gun from his house, pointed it at them and told them, “You, your wife and your kids have to die.”

He told the family he would take a picture of their license plate and come “hunt them down,” court documents say.

Prosecutors initially charged Debello without the hate crime enhancement. A grand jury in September 2016 indicted Debello with the unlawful use of a weapon charge adding the "motivated by discrimination" enhancement.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Nellie Ribaudo on Dec. 29 set the case for jury trial in April. Debello has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Marwah AbdulHussein and Rabie Ayoub

Marwah Abdul Hussein, 30, and her husband Rabie Ayoub, 37, of South County, attend a press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, at the Dar-Al-Jalal Islamic Center in Hazelwood to discuss an alleged hate crime. Photo by Joel Currier, jcurrier@post-dispatch.com

The victims, Rabie Ayoub and his wife, Marwah Abdul Hussein, spoke out against Debello after the incident, saying they were critical of the police investigation, fearful of their safety and had hoped the case would be charged as a hate crime.

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