Suspected serial killer confesses to unsolved Va. murder

LEESBURG, Va. — A suspected serial killer who is serving a life sentence in a Michigan prison has confessed to a 2009 unsolved murder in Leesburg.

Elias Abuelazam has admitted killing his Leesburg neighbor, Jammie Lane, said Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman.

However, Plowman will not charge Abuelazam in Lane’s murder, or for three nonfatal stabbings that occurred in Leesburg, in 2010.

“We did agree to give him immunity for the statements he was going to provide to detectives,” Plowman said. “At this point it was not about the prosecution, but was primarily focused on the family and victims in this case, and providing answers and closure for them.”

Within the past two weeks, Abuelazam confessed to Leesburg detectives that he had killed Lane, Plowman said.

Abuelazam is serving life in prison, with no chance of parole, in Michigan, for the August 2010 murder of Arnold Minor.

He was also charged in two other fatal stabbings and six assaults with intent to murder in the Flint, Michigan, area, but prosecutors suspended additional prosecutions, because he is already sentenced to life.

Plowman said there was little to be gained by prosecuting Abuelazam in Loudoun County.

“There is no additional punishment that the court system in Leesburg can provide,” said Plowman. “He’s serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.”

In a news conference outside the courthouse, Della Allen, Lane’s widow, supported Plowman’s decision.

“It feels so good to have closure, and not be in fear like I have for the past eight years,” Allen said. “I’m at peace, and I’m sure he is, too,” referring to Jammie Lane.

Plowman said he also took into consideration the risk and cost of transporting the convicted murderer to Virginia for trial.

After the news conference, Plowman said the immunity agreement was handed to Abuelazam by Leesburg detectives, who had traveled to Michigan to interview him. Abuelazam signed the agreement.

Plowman and Leesburg police said they believed Abuelazam was remorseful, but did not say why he had killed Lane. All of the people Abuelazam killed or injured were black.

“I would attribute it to conspiracy theories, delusions, and paranoia about facts that he believed, but were not true,” said Plowman.

Although Abuelazam was not charged with three nonfatal stabbings in Leesburg in August 2010, Plowman said police had a substantial amount of evidence.

“One victim was able to identify him; in one there was video. There were also links to his vehicle, and DNA,” said Plowman.

Leesburg detective Doug Shaw said there had been a total of four interviews with Abuelazam.

Contacted by WTOP, one of Abuelazam’s lawyers, Edwar Zeineh said, “Though we were not a party to this immunity agreement, it seems once again, a fair resolution to a difficult series of cases. If the information is accurate, it is safe to say all parties involved received a benefit.”

Plowman said he did not discuss it with Genessee County (Michigan) prosecutor David Leyton, who did not immediately return a call for comment.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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