FLINT, Mich. - A man suspected in a series of stabbings in Michigan and two other states has been arraigned on a charge of murder and four new counts of attempted murder.
It's the first murder charge in a stabbing spree that killed five men and injured nine in the Flint area. Elias Abuelazam also is a suspect in two stabbings and a hammer attack in Virginia and a stabbing in Ohio.
Abuelazam, 33, was video arraigned in a Flint courtroom on one count of open murder in the Aug. 2 slaying of Arnold Minor, 49, of the Flint area, who was found in the street, stabbed in the chest and stomach.
If convicted, he faces life in prison with no chance of parole.
If convicted on the four additional counts of assault with intent to murder, he could face up to life in prison.
Bond for Abuelazam was denied. He will be back in court on Sept. 27 for a pretrial hearing.
Abuelazam previously was charged in just one case, the attempted murder of a 26-year-old man. He was arrested at an Atlanta airport on Aug. 11 while trying to travel to Israel, his native country, and is being held in the county jail.
Abuelazam "terrorized our citizens," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. "We've got the guy responsible for these crimes. ... We will convict him. We will lock him up for the rest of his life. His victims deserve nothing less."
One of Abuelazam's victims, 17-year-old Etwan Wilson, was in court Monday.
"In my case, I feel good that he was charged," said Wilson who was attacked on Aug. 1 as he walked home.
Wilson said he ran to the first house with a light on and dropped to the floor inside while a man and woman tried to stop the bleeding and call 911. He needed 40 staples to close wounds to his torso and spent 11 days in the hospital.
"I don't want to see him on TV," Wilson said, referring to Abuelazam's court appearance via jail camera. "I want to see him in this courtroom, in a chair, up close and personal."
Abuelazam's lawyer, Brian Morley, said the new charges were expected and he's already received some evidence from authorities.
The charge of open murder gives Leyton the option to later amend it as the case proceeds to first-degree murder or murder committed during another felony.
Surveillance video from a nearby convenience store showed Abuelazam's green vehicle in the area at the time of the Aug. 2 slaying of Arnold Minor, Leyton said. Authorities later matched Minor's DNA to blood in the vehicle, he said.
"He's going to have a hard time explaining that," Leyton said of Abuelazam.
Five men died and nine were injured during a series of stabbings in the Flint area from May to early August.
Killed were David Motley, 31; Emmanuel A. Muhammad, 59; Darwin Marshall, 43; and Arnold R. Minor, 49; all of Flint, and Frank Kellybrew, 60, of Flint Township.
In explaining the four new attempted-murder charges, Leyton said there was a common thread: The victims were asked for help or directions before being attacked.
"We suspect that he was preying on vulnerable, African-American men, cruising the areas of the city of Flint and the surrounding suburbs where he might find such individuals and try to take their lives and destroy them," the prosecutor said.
At least 15 of the 18 victims were black, but it was unclear whether the attacks were racially motivated.
Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock believes that a fear of helping strangers has ebbed since Abuelazam's arrest but not completely.
People "have to use their best judgment. They need to be careful," Lock said.
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