Jury seated in trial of suspected serial stabber - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Jury seated in trial of suspected serial stabber

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(05/03/12) - A jury has been seated in the trial of suspected serial stabber Elias Abuelazam.

The jury consists of 16 jurors, including four alternates. About 90 percent are female, with one African-American.

Abuelazam is suspected of a series of stabbing attacks in the spring and summer of 2010. This is the first murder trial resulting from those attacks.

It was the spring of 2010 when Abuelazam is believed to have begun a series of vicious stabbing attacks on men in and around Flint. He's charged in a total of nine cases, including the stabbing death of Arnold Minor, who was found dead on Flint's south side the morning of Aug. 2.

Following two days of jury selection, jurors were seated Thursday morning for Abuelazam's murder trial. Minor's family feels a sense of relief.

"I am so relieved that we got to this point this quick. I never thought it would be this quick," said Minor's sister Stephanie Ward.

"We got jurors that were honest and fair and I think we actually have a fair and impartial jury," said defense attorney Brian Morely.

"Very nice group of people. They are attentive and I'm sure they are going to listen closely to all of the evidence," said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney credit the judge for moving things along quickly.

"The judge did a magnificent job keeping us focused, keeping us on track," Leyton said.

The trial is expected to begin with opening statements on Tuesday, when the prosecution will outline the case and the evidence that they will present to the jury. They have listed more than 60 witnesses.

"We have three police witnesses right off the bat who found Arnold Minor lying in the street on South Saginaw Street in a pool of blood," Leyton said.

Abuelazam's attorney says his client is prepared to stand trial.

"He's open-minded, as we ask the jury to be, and he has an open mind to sit through the trial and defend himself," said attorney Edward Zeineh.

It's too early to know if Abuelazam will take the stand in his own defense.

"He has the constitutional right to, and the constitutional right not to and not be used against him, so it's a balance and it's up to him essentially," Zeineh said.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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