Elias Abuelazam: The Multi-State Serial Stabber
Less than 24 hours after receiving the tip about Abuelazam's employment at the party store, investigators, working through the night and talking to his relatives, tracked their suspect to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport where they found him late Wednesday evening, August 11, 2010. Abuelazam was waiting at a boarding gate for a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. Assisted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, investigators had Abuelazam paged over the airport's intercom system in which he was told to report to a ticket counter. Answering the page, Abuelazam was arrested by the border patrol agents without incident.
Charged with assault with intent to commit murder in the attack on Antwoine Marshall, he was booked into Fulton County Jail to await an extradition hearing. Marshall had identified Abuelazam as his assailant from a photo when the FBI showed up at his house at 3 a.m. that morning. Investigators had tracked him on a flight from Michigan to Louisville, Ky., and then to Atlanta, the last leg of his flight before leaving the country for Tel Aviv. The charge for the attack against Marshall would allow investigators to hold Abuelazam as they continued building their case against him for other assaults and killings. Authorities in Michigan also impounded his green Chevy Blazer, which he had left behind, and planned to process it in their search for possible evidence.
Abuelazam was also investigated for an alleged stabbing incident in his native Israel earlier in 2010, apparently while there on a visit, reportedly during an argument with a close acquaintance. The police dropped the case, however, because the alleged victim refused to cooperate.
Elias Abuelazam waived extradition and was promptly returned to Michigan to face charges. He arrived amid tight security, wearing a bullet-proof vest for his own protection.
On Thursday, August 26, 2010, the suspected serial stabber appeared via video from jail in the courtroom of Judge Nathaniel Perry III for arraignment on charges of assault with intent to commit murder in the attack on Antwoine Marshall. Abuelazam indicated that he understood the charges against him. An automatic not guilty plea was entered for him. No bond was set, and a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, August 31, 2010. Genessee County Prosecutor David Leyton at that time said that additional charges, including five murder charges, will be filed against Abuelazam as well.
Leyton said he did not believe the attacks allegedly committed by Abuelazam were racially motivated.
"I believe he is not sick," Leyton said. "He is evil....The charges will be coming in the homicide cases and the attempted homicide cases. I'll seek life in prison without the possibility of parole."
Leyton said that he is happy that Abuelazam is back in Michigan.
"It's really all about the victims," Leyton said. "They have to know that we care, and we do."
On September 20, 2010, Abuelazam was arraigned on four additional charges of assault with intent to commit murder and for one charge of murder in the death of Arnold Minor, after dried blood found by Michigan State Police in Abuelazam's Blazer was matched to Minor by DNA testing. Additional charges continue to be discussed by Michigan and other prosecutors, and it may be months before the pre-trial hearing are completed.