Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

June 12, 2014

Man blamed for Flint serial stabbings loses appeal

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has affirmed the murder conviction of a man accused in a series of fatal stabbings in 2010, saying there was nothing improper about telling jurors about other attacks.

The court found no grounds to overturn the results of the first-degree murder trial of Elias Abuelazam, a drifter from Virginia and Florida who moved to Flint to live near an uncle.

In 2012, Abuelazam, a native of Israel, was convicted of killing Arnold Minor.

"This man terrorized our community. We are obviously pleased with the Court of Appeals ruling," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Wednesday.

Abuelazam was charged with two more murders and six attempted murders. But Leyton, citing the high costs, plans no additional trials because Abuelazam already is locked up with a no-parole life sentence.

The trial judge in the Minor case allowed Leyton to introduce evidence of the other stabbings. Abuelazam's appellate lawyer argued that it was unfair because the prosecutor already had strong evidence.

The appeals court, however, disagreed.

"Evidence of defendant's established pattern of seeking out and stabbing solitary victims in deserted areas during the early morning hours made it more likely that, in this case, defendant acted with a premeditated and deliberate plan when he stabbed the victim," the court said in a 3-0 decision released Wednesday.

Abuelazam, now 37, was linked to the stabbing of 14 people in the Flint area; five died.

While awaiting trial, Abuelazam told experts he was under the spell of demons when the attacks occurred. The jury rejected his insanity defense.

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