FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A man suspected in a three-state stabbing spree was ordered Friday to stand trial for attempted murder in a late-night attack on a Michigan man who was walking home with a can of beer.
It was the first of two key hearings for Elias Abuelazam, who is accused in a series of brazen attacks that shook the Flint area last summer. A judge will also decide whether he stands trial for the fatal stabbing of a 60-year-old man.
Richard Booker testified that he was stabbed by Abuelazam on July 19 while stopping to help him open the hood of a Chevy Blazer around midnight. He said he somehow fought the attacker off and made it to his home in Genesee Township, outside Flint.
"I almost lost my life. ... God carried me home or something. I walked or ran," Booker told 67th District Court Judge Richard Hughes, who found probable cause for a trial.
Surrounded by six deputies, Abuelazam, 34, often conferred with his lawyers during the testimony.
"He grabbed me around the neck and stuck a huge knife in my liver," Booker said, stepping off the witness stand to demonstrate on assistant prosecutor Tamara Phillips.
"I see him in my dreams every night," he said of Abuelazam.
Fourteen people were stabbed -- five fatally -- in the Flint area. Abuelazam is charged with three counts of murder and five attempted murders in Michigan, and an attempted murder in Ohio. He is suspected in attacks in Leesburg, Va.
The victims were alone at night, and some of those who survived said they were asked by their attacker for help or directions before being stabbed.
The second hearing Friday involves the death of Frank Kellybrew, who was killed on July 30 after buying snacks at a store in the middle of the night. Authorities said his DNA was found on blood-stained shoes seized from Abuelazam's luggage.
It was Kellybrew's death that convinced police that a serial killer was likely on the loose.
The stabbing "was something that got law enforcement to say, 'Hey, we've got something here,"' Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said recently. "That one was out in Flint Township. Some of the others had been in the city. ... It became apparent what we had."
Investigators have said Abuelazam left his vehicle in Michigan and flew to Louisville, Ky., and then to Atlanta. His luggage was seized in Louisville, and the blood-stained shoes were found inside, Leyton said.
Abuelazam was captured in Atlanta while trying to fly to Israel, his native country, on Aug. 11.
Kellybrew's brother-in-law, Charles McFadden, said the blood evidence should make the case.
"With the DNA, that's like open and shut," he said Thursday.
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