(10/04/12) - Genesee County prosecutors have suspended all additional cases against convicted killer and suspected serial stabber Elias Abuelazam pending the outcome of his appeal.
There will very likely be no additional trials, at least in mid-Michigan.
"If by some chance the appeal is successful, which I don't think it would be, then we come right back here to circuit court," says Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.
Abuelazam, now 36, had been facing trial in 10 additional criminal cases in Genesee County.
He was convicted of first-degree murder, in the August 2010 death of Arnold Minor in Flint, in May. Abuelazam was sentenced to life in prison without parole one month later.
"There is an agreement that if there is a successful appeal of the conviction or sentence in the Arnold Minor case then the people could reinstate the charges here in circuit court just as they are today," says Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor Tammy Phillips.
"In the interest of saving the taxpayers literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in prosecution, we decided this would be the best possible situation," says Leyton.
Leyton says Minor's trial cost the county more than $100,000. He says Abuelazam's attorney was also asking for the county to pay for a new expert witness.
The defense's one witness, during the Minor trial, said Abuelazam was mentally ill at the time of the attacks and controlled by evil forces.
Prosecutors relied heavily on DNA evidence and testimony from other victims.
Velma Marshall's son Darwin Marshall was murdered, in Flint, July 26, 2010. Abuelazam was charged in his death. She was in court Friday knowing it would likely be the last time she saw him in person.
"We all have to move on and if that appeal goes through we will be back here in court," she says.
Abuelazam, with a scruffy beard and slightly longer hair, was also present for the hearing. He was flanked by prison guards and Genesee County Sheriff's Department deputies.
Abuelazam is currently serving his sentence at the Ionia Correctional Facility.
"What do I feel? If I could get my hands on him? Yeah, but then I know that's not the right way. We have got to let God handle the rest of this," Marshall says.
Dubbed the serial stabber, Abuelazam is suspected in attacks in three states during spring and summer of 2010.
In Genesee County, in the fall of 2010, he was charged in three murder and six assault with intent to murder cases.
He was later charged in other criminal cases unconnected to the stabbings. Sheriff Robert Pickell says he tried to punch a sergeant, inside of the Genesee County Jail, and had to be tasered after resisting four deputies.
Frank Kellybrew's murder trial was scheduled to start next week. A garbage truck driver found his body, in a Flint Township parking lot, early the morning of July 30, 2010.
Prosecutors Friday said they reached out to all of the victim's families and the ones who responded agreed to the suspension of the cases.
"Many of them testified at trial, and rightfully so, felt they helped convict him," Leyton says.
"I'm just hoping my son is looking down on this saying, 'Ok mama now you guys go on with your lives.'"
Abuelazam is also suspected in similar stabbings in Virginia and Ohio that left four others wounded.
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