Second suspect convicted of kidnapping, robbery, murder of Ohio imam in 2021


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A second man has been indicted on charges related to the death of an Ohio religious leader who authorities said was killed in a botched robbery attempt.

Isaiah Brown-Miller, 23, was convicted Friday of kidnapping and aggravated robbery in his third trial in the December 2021 death of Columbus Imam Mohammed Hassan Adam, 48, a prominent figure in the Somali community. A co-defendant was previously convicted of murder in the case.

Jurors in Franklin County deliberated about 14 hours over two days and deadlocked twice before reaching a guilty verdict, The Columbus Dispatch informed of, The judge revoked his bail and he will be sentenced to prison at a later date. Earlier trials in February and June ended in mistrials after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

Adam, the longtime imam at the Masjid Abu Huraira mosque on the northeast side of Columbus, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in a van in December 2021, two days after he traveled to pick up a child from day care. Had gone missing.

Franklin County prosecutors alleged during the trial of the two men that the defendants were trying to obtain money from Adams and possibly from mosque funds to which the imam had access. Investigators said there was no initial indication that Adam was targeted because of his faith or because he was a member of the Somali community.

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Defense attorney Toure McCord had sought to have the charges dismissed after a second mistrial, saying it was unlikely any jury would convict his client. He said in closing arguments in the third trial that prosecutors failed to prove that his client was involved in any way and pointed to several people whom he said could be alternative suspects.

Brown-Miller was not charged with murder in the case. Another jury in October convicted Adam’s co-defendant, John Wooden, 47, of aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and other charges in Adam’s death. He faces a mandatory life sentence in prison and a minimum of 20 years before being eligible for parole. One of his lawyers, Paul Scarcella, alleged that the prosecution’s case against Wooden was built on assumptions and that the police failed to follow up all leads.

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