A man suspected in a three-state stabbing spree was ordered to stand trial for the attempted murder of a Michigan man who was walking home last summer. Friday morning’s was the first of two hearings for Elias Abuelazam, who’s accused of a series of attacks in the Flint area.
Fourteen people were stabbed, five fatally, in the Flint area last summer. Abuelazam is charged with three counts of murder and five attempted murders in Michigan, and an attempted murder in Ohio. He is suspected in attacks in Virginia.
Richard Booker testified, Friday, that he was stabbed by Abuelazam in July when he stopped to help him open the hood of a Chevy Blazer at night. Booker said he somehow fought him off and made it to his home in Genessee Township.
The 34-year-old Abueelazam often conferred with his lawyers during the testimony, while surrounded by six deputies.
In the second hearing Friday, involving the death 60-year-old Frank Kellybrew, the judge said he needs to hear more evidence before deciding whether to order a trial.
Genesee County prosecutors called four witnesses Friday but others weren’t available.
Kellybrew was attacked July 30 after buying snacks at a gas station near Flint.
Authorities said Kellybrew’s DNA was found on blood-stained shoes seized from Abuelazam’s luggage.
“Anything to get it over as quick as possible,” Kellybrew’s brother-in-law, Charles McFadden, said Thursday. “The more it lingers, the more it stays in your mind.”
Kellybrew didn’t always sleep well, his relatives have said, so it was no surprise that he was on foot in the early morning hours when he was stabbed and left for dead near a store in Flint Township. The community is just outside Flint, a city about 70 miles northwest of Detroit.
Investigators said other victims also had been walking alone at night, and some of those who survived said they were asked by their attacker for help or directions before being stabbed.
But it was Kellybrew’s death that convinced police that a serial killer was likely on the loose.
The stabbing “was something that got law enforcement to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got something here,”’ Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. “That one was out in Flint Township. Some of the others had been in the city. … It became apparent what we had.”
Abuelazam has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He was arrested Aug. 11 at the airport it Atlanta as he was about to board a plane to Tel Aviv.
Investigators have said the suspect left his vehicle in Michigan and flew to Louisville, Ky., and then to Atlanta. His luggage was seized in Louisville, and the blood-stained shoes were found inside, Leyton said.
McFadden, Kellybrew’s brother-in-law, said he believed that that blood evidence should make the case.
“With the DNA, that’s like open and shut,” he said.
The next hearing is Dec. 3.
(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)