Elias Abuelazam: The Flint Serial Slasher, Profile and Facts

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Here is a profile and some facts on The Flint Serial Slasher, AKA: Elias Abuelazam, who stabbed at least 17 people between 2009 and 2010, five of whom died from their injuries.

This is from my upcoming encyclopedia book series, 21st Century Serial Killers Volume 1.

The Flint Serial Slasher

In the sweltering heat of the summer of 2010, the residents of Genesee County, Michigan, and surrounding areas were gripped with terror.

An imposing figure, standing at 6 feet 5 inches and weighing 280 pounds, roamed the streets, preying on unsuspecting victims.

This elusive predator was Elias Abuelazam, an Israeli-born man who would later be dubbed the “Flint Serial Slasher” and the “Flint Serial Stabber.”

He was suspected of a string of serial killings and stabbings with a possible racial motive.

A Seemingly Normal Life

Elias Abuelazam was born on August 29, 1976, into an affluent Arab Christian family in Israel. As a child, he moved to the United States when his mother remarried.

Despite never acquiring US citizenship, Abuelazam obtained a Green Card and began to build a life for himself in America.

He found employment at the Piedmont Behavioral Health Center in Leesburg, Virginia, working as a mental health technician until 2008.

Later, he moved to Michigan and secured a job as a clerk at Kingwater Market in Beecher from July 5 to August 1, 2010.

Abuelazam’s personal life was marred by a tumultuous marriage to Jessica Hirth in 2004, which ended in divorce in 2007 due to emotional abuse. He later remarried.

Prowler On The Streets

Between May and August 2010, Abuelazam allegedly prowled the streets late at night, targeting small-framed men walking alone.

His modus operandi involved approaching his victims, asking for directions or assistance with his vehicle, and then viciously stabbing them, typically in the chest or stomach.

Most of his victims were black, leading police in Leesburg to suspect a racial motive for the attacks.

However, Genesee County prosecutors were hesitant to speculate on his motives, noting that Flint’s population is predominantly black.

His final victim, and allegedly, his sixteenth victim, was 49-year-old Arnold Minor, whose case would prove vital in convicting Abuelazam further down the line.

International Attacker

In addition to the string of attacks in the United States, Abuelazam was suspected of stabbing a friend in the face with a screwdriver during a visit to his family in Ramla, Israel, in early 2010.

The case was not pursued because the friend refused to press charges. Leesburg Police also identified Abuelazam as a suspect in an unsolved homicide from March 2009.

A multi-jurisdictional task force was established in Genesee County on August 4, 2010, to investigate the series of stabbings dating back to May 2010.

Police in Leesburg connected three hammer attacks against black men to Abuelazam based on victims’ descriptions, surveillance footage, and a similar modus operandi.

Capture of Elias Abuelazam

On August 5, 2010, Abuelazam was first arrested in Arlington, Virginia, during a traffic stop. He was taken into custody due to an outstanding warrant for simple assault and later released on a personal bond.

His second arrest occurred on August 11, 2010, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport while preparing to board a flight to Tel Aviv.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested Abuelazam, and on August 13, 2010, he waived his right to fight extradition to Michigan.

With the assistance of Lansing-based attorneys Brian Morley and Edwar Zeineh, Abuelazam was flown back to Flint on August 26, 2010, and lodged in the Genesee County Jail.

Held in solitary confinement for his safety and due to the impact of his actions on many lives, according to Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell, Abuelazam awaited his trial.

Elias Abuelazam: The Flint Serial Slasher, Profile and Facts

The Evil Spirits Within

The Arnold Minor murder trial began on May 8, 2012. The prosecution’s key piece of evidence in the trial was a drop of Arnold Minor’s blood found on a pair of pants in Abuelazam’s luggage.

Over the course of the trial, the prosecution called 50 witnesses, including other victims and their relatives, forensic experts, and even Abuelazam’s own uncle, who had assisted the police in capturing him.

On May 17, Abuelazam’s attorneys presented an insanity defense, relying on the testimony of a psychiatrist hired by his legal team.

The psychiatrist diagnosed Abuelazam with paranoid schizophrenia, asserting that “evil spirits” had driven him to commit the heinous crimes.

The doctor also highlighted a 1997 suicide attempt and a 2009 diagnosis of psychosis by an Israeli psychologist.

The prosecution, however, attacked the psychiatrist’s credibility, pointing out that his primary field of expertise was addiction medicine.

In response, the prosecution presented two of their own mental health experts.

Both psychologists agreed that while Abuelazam had an unspecified personality disorder and lacked empathy, his attacks were too planned and organized for him to be considered legally insane.

Sentenced to Life Without Parole

On May 22, 2012, after only an hour of deliberation, the jury found Elias Abuelazam guilty of Arnold Minor’s murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on June 25, 2012.

Following his conviction, several charges against Abuelazam were dismissed. He hired a new attorney, Christopher M. Smith, who filed an appeal based on the original trial judge’s rejection of a motion for a change of venue due to extensive media coverage.

The appeal also challenged the judge’s decision to allow evidence of other attacks or testimony from other alleged victims.

On June 10, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Abuelazam’s conviction. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case on November 25, 2014.

On August 1, 2014, Abuelazam filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the United States Attorney General, requesting deportation to Israel to face charges of an attempted murder that occurred in Latrun, Palestine, on October 1, 2009.

Michigan authorities considered the lawsuit frivolous and expected it to be dismissed. Legally, it was impossible to deport Abuelazam due to his life without parole status, as convicts cannot be deported until their full sentence is served.

Serial Slasher

The case of Elias Abuelazam was profiled in a July 8, 2013 episode of the Investigation Discovery show Blood, Lies & Alibis titled “Serial Slasher.”

The episode delved deep into the terror that gripped the community during the summer of 2010, featuring re-enactments of some of his attacks, the investigation, and his arrest.

Actual footage of some of his attacks, his arrest, and trial were shown, accompanied by testimony from Genesee County law enforcement officials, local media, surviving victims, and Arnold Minor’s grieving relatives.

Elias Abuelazam was convicted of one murder, charged with two more murders and six attempted murders. He was ultimately linked to 17 stabbings in total and five murders.

In 2014, the courts decided to plan no more trials for Elias, as he was already serving his life sentence without parole and any future sentence would not outweigh that one.

Elias Abuelazam will likely spend the remainder of his days locked away, unable to harm anyone else.

READ NEXT: Facts About David Berkowitz, AKA: the Son of Sam

If you like my blogs, you might like my new book series with Twelvetrees Camden and True Crime Lists. 21st Century Serial Killers Volume 1 is on out now!

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