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Michigan trial ordered for suspected serial killer

The first murder trial for a suspected serial killer was ordered in Michigan on Friday after a scientist testified that a victim’s DNA was found in blood on the suspect’s shoelace.

A judge ruled there was enough evidence against Elias Abuelazam for the July killing of Frank Kellybrew, who was among 14 people stabbed last summer in and around Flint, about 65 miles northwest of Detroit. Five victims died.

Abuelazam, 34, also is suspected of attacks in Virginia and Ohio. But it was Kellybrew’s death that finally convinced police that a serial killer likely was on the loose.

Michigan State Police scientist Kristin Schelling said it was “very, very unlikely” that the DNA found on Abuelazam’s shoelaces belonged to anyone other than Kellybrew. The chance, she said, was one in 112.8 trillion.

“Slim and none, and slim just left town,” prosecutor David Leyton told the judge.

Police said the shoes were found in Abuelazam’s luggage as he tried to flee to his native Israel in August.

Abuelazam’s hands and ankles were shackled as he sat in court in front of three sheriff’s deputies. He is charged with three murders and six attempted murders in Genesee County, Mich., and one attempted murder in Toledo, Ohio. He’s also suspected in similar attacks in Leesburg, Va., where he once lived.

Defense attorney Brian Morley said overcoming the DNA evidence in the Kellybrew case will be “tough.”

“I don’t know that you can. I’d be foolish to say they’re wrong on DNA,” Morley told The Associated Press.

District Court Judge John Conover found probable cause to order a trial, saying the evidence is circumstantial but “you can weave a thread” through it.

Police have said Kellybrew, 60, was stabbed in the middle of the night when he went to a gas station for soda, a sandwich and pain medicine. Some victims who survived similar stabbings said they also were attacked at night and were asked for help or directions by their attacker.

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