Elias Abeulazam, 35, was convicted today of the first-degree murder of Arnold Minor in Flint, Mich. Authorities believe Abuelazam is reponsible for 14 knife attacks in the Flint area during the summer of 2010.
After an eight-day trial that stretched over three weeks and included conclusive DNA evidence and testimony from surviving stabbing victims, the Michigan jury needed less than 2.5 hours to reach a unanimous decision. Abuelazam faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosector David Leyton said his office had “mountains of evidence” pointing to guilt. Abuelezam’s defense attorneys maintained that the defendant was a paranoid schizophrenic, compelled to attack by “evil forces” in his head. But jurors ended up siding with the prosecution contention that the attacks were “planned, focused, done with care” rather than opting to find Abuelazam criminally insane.
Abuelazam showed no reaction as the verdict was read. He had no family in court to support him. Defense Attorney Ed Zeineh told reporters he would call Abuelazam’s mother to give her the news.
The victim’s family attended the verdict and spoke with the media afterward. “Right now I’m crying because I’m said, I’m crying because I’m happy. Now we can lay him to rest,” said Minor’s sister Stephanie Ward.
Afterwards, the Minor family brought the deceased’s ashes to the murder scene on Saganaw and Barton Streets in Flint. They celebrated the verdict by erecting a makeshift memorial with balloons. Despite the verdict, the family still has questions that will never be answered: “The murderer gets his due, but what is his motive? There has to be a motive,” said victim’s brother Kareem-Ali Minor. “We found out today that he’s not legally insane. That’s still stuff that echoes in my mind.”