Jury selection process underway in Abuelazam trial - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Jury selection process underway in Abuelazam trial

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(05/01/12) - The process of selecting a jury is underway in the Elias Abuelazam trial in Genesee County.

Questioning continues Wednesday morning.

It's the first murder trial for Abuelazam.

He's suspected in a series of spring and summertime stabbing attacks in the Flint area, in 2010.

He's charged in nine of them.

Abuelazam is also suspected in three attacks in two other states, Ohio and Virginia.

The victim in this first trial? Flint's final victim, 49-year-old Arnold Minor.

ABC12 spoke with Minor's sister, Stephanie Ward, as she arrived at court Tuesday morning.

As she's done in the past, she brought his ashes with her.

Tuesday morning, questionnaires were being screened to determine who makes it to the next phase of this jury selection process.

115 people filled them out.

Abuelazam's cases, the attacks in them, have received a lot of local and national media attention.

His defense team has filed a change of venue motion, but Circuit Court Judge Judith Fullerton said they would try this process first to try and seat a jury in Genesee County.    

The next phase would be bringing people physically into the courtroom to be questioned in person.

At least 10 people were questioned, in person, in the courtroom, Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Fullerton, prosecutors and defense attorneys want to know what they know about the highly publicized stabbing attacks and if they feel they can serve on a jury, for example.

It's similar to the process used to try and seat a jury in the Brandon Hayes, Dominick Calhoun case, last fall.

Attempts to seat a jury were unsuccessful. A jury was seated in Port Huron. Hayes was convicted.

That's what Minor's family wants in this case.

"We're just waiting for that day so we can lay him to rest," she says.

Abuelazam, charged with open murder in Minor's stabbing death August 2, 2010, was in court Tuesday morning.

Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom.

He was wearing a dark, pinstriped suit.

His hair short, face clean shaven and he appears to have bulked back up again looking just as big in person as he did when arrested in August of 2010.

The hope is to have 80 people, potential jurors, for voir dire Thursday morning.   

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