FLINT, Michigan (AP) — Defense lawyers acknowledge that DNA will be hard evidence to overcome in the first trial linked to a series of stabbings that killed five people in Michigan and injured many more in summer 2010.
Victims say Israeli-born Elias Abuelazam would ask for directions or help with his vehicle before stabbing them and speeding away. The jury selection process began Tuesday in the death of Arnold Minor, a 49-year-old whose body was found in the middle of a busy street.
Police say Minor’s DNA was found in dried blood in Abuelazam’s SUV and inside luggage that was seized as he tried to flee to his native Israel in August 2010.
“DNA’s tough — it just is,” defense attorney Brian Morley said in an interview. “He’s ready. He understands the evidence. He understands what’s going on.”
Abuelazam, 35, is charged with three murders and six attempted murders in the Detroit area, although authorities believe he’s responsible for as many as 14 stabbings. Prosecutors will be allowed to tell jurors about some of the other attacks because they were similar.
Morley and co-counsel Ed Zeineh are prepared to offer an insanity defense, claiming Abuelazam was mentally ill when Minor was killed. Prosecutors have their own experts who have examined Abuelazam and are prepared to rebut it.
Abuelazam is also charged with attempted murder in Toledo, Ohio, and suspected but not charged in attacks in Leesburg, Virginia.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.