Defense gets turn in serial stabbings trial

Defense will argue mental illness for Elias Abuelazam in Flint serial stabbings

Published On: May 17 2012 07:42:29 AM EDT
FLINT, Mich. -

The defense is getting its turn in the first murder trial stemming from a series of summer stabbings in a Michigan community in 2010.

Attorneys for Elias Abuelazam are prepared to argue Thursday that he was mentally ill at the time and didn't fully understand what he was doing. The Israeli immigrant is charged with the murder of Arnold Minor.

Minor's blood was found in Abuelazam's SUV and on his pants and shoes, authorities say. Fourteen people were stabbed in and around Flint two years ago, and five died.

Experts say an insanity defense is difficult because jurors still can convict someone of murder even if they also believe there was mental illness. Prosecutors have their own experts to rebut evidence that Abuelazam was mentally ill in 2010.