A Downers Grove man charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his mother Thursday was under investigation by Homeland Security and had considered killing himself, according to DuPage County prosecutors.
Judge Daniel Guerin ordered Michael Zaky Bassaly, 27, of Downers Grove held without bond and demanded that the Egyptian citizen hand over his passport. He stands accused of first-degree murder.
“At this point, the presumption is great that the defendant is guilty,” Guerin said.
Prosecutors played a 4-minute 911 tape made by Bassaly at 12:53 a.m. Aug. 29, moments after his mother, 61-year-old Yvonne Zaky Bassaly, suffered a deadly shot to the head inside a Cadillac parked in the St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church on 79th Street in Burr Ridge.
Bassaly can be heard crying and pleading during the call, during which he said, “I shot my mom. I shot her in the brain.”
Along with cries of “Mom” and “Please, Please, Please, Oh God,” Bassaly is heard saying “She made me do it. She wanted me to do it.”
DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Anne Therieau said a Burr Ridge police squad car dash camera recorded Bassaly saying, “Talk to the FBI. They know everything.”
Therieau said Bassaly, who had claimed to work as a translator for Homeland Security, was actually being investigated by the office in connection with 120 to 130 asylum applications believed to be fake. Mary Alexande-Basta, a member of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox , told The Doings that Bassaly, who at one time was a law student, had been helping members of the church with paperwork needed to gain legal status in the United States.
Several letters were found inside the car in a sealed envelope, one of which stated, “If you are reading this letter, it means I have killed my mother,” prosecutors said.
Therieau said Bassaly told police he had told his mother earlier that evening he was going to kill himself, and claimed she responded if he did there would be nobody around to take care of her, and asked that he kill her too. His mother said they should go pray, and they drove to the church, Therieau said. But Therieau said he also said his mother was going to be killed one way or the other.
She was shot in the temple and the bullet went through, exiting her head. She was still alive but struggling to breathe when police arrived, Therieau said.
Burr Ridge Deputy Police Chief Marc Loftus said she was pronounced dead at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital at 1:42 a.m.
Defense attorney Marc Wolfe called what happened in the St. Mark parking lot “a terrible accident.” He claimed statements made during the 911 call were made under extreme emotional distress. He said that while being questioned by Burr Ridge police, Bassaly claimed his mother had shot herself and he had tried to stop her.
“He’s clearly a man under pressure,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said Bassaly is a well-respected member of the local Egyptian community with a clean criminal record. In fact, Bassaly appeared in court the morning of Aug. 30, prior to his bond hearing, on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He also has several traffic violations, prosecutors said.
Bassaly is scheduled to appear in court again Sept. 9.