FLINT, Mich. – Experts are clashing over the mental health of a man blamed in a series of deadly stabbings in Michigan in 2010.
A psychiatrist testifying for the defense and a psychologist testifying for prosecutors agree that Elias Abuelazam blames evil spirits and delusions for his actions two summers ago in the Flint area. But they disagree over whether that makes him criminally responsible for the death of a 49-year-old man who was stabbed and left to die in a street.
"He could not resist the delusions. He didn't mean to harm. The delusions did," defense psychiatrist Norman Miller told jurors Thursday.
Abuelazam, 35, is charged with the murder of Arnold Minor in the first trial since 14 people were stabbed in the Flint area, five fatally. The trial resumes Friday in Genesee County court, 60 miles north of Detroit, with more testimony from psychologist Thomas Brewer and other experts for the prosecution.
Brewer, who works at the state-run Center for Forensic Psychiatry, said whatever demons Abuelazam had two years ago shouldn't absolve him of responsibility in Minor's death. Abuelazam is accused of faking car trouble or seeking directions before he knifed his victims after midnight on empty streets.
"It was very organized, planned, very goal-directed behavior. He's luring someone into his trap," Brewer testified.
Besides the killing of Minor, Abuelazam is also charged with fatally stabbing two other men in the Flint area and attempting to murder six more. In Toledo, Ohio, he's charged with attempted murder. Trials in those cases have not been set.
Miller was the only defense witness. Abuelazam told the judge he would not testify.