On Saturday February 14, 39-year-old Terrence Lavaron Thomas was standing with a group of individuals at a suburban bus stop when he allegedly asked some whether they were Muslims, according to a recent news article at Mlive.com. Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said that two of the individuals answered that they were not Muslims, at which point the two were stabbed by Thomas. On Tuesday it was reported that the case was being investigated as a potential hate crime by federal authorities.
Hawkins said that Thomas was not happy with the answer given by the two victims, who are both in their early 50s. He allegedly attacked one of the victims with a 3-inch folding knife he pulled out, then stabbed the other in the hand as he attempted to bring a halt to the attack. Neither of the victims sustained serious injuries.
The defendant, who is charged with one count of carrying a dangerous weapon, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of assault with intent to murder, fled the scene after stabbing the victims, however he was arrested by police within minutes, according to Hawkins, who also said Thomas was carrying two knives along with some marijuana.
Thomas alleges that he is a Muslim, however the exact motive of the attacks has not been revealed. At the time of news reports, prosecutors were still contemplating whether a charge of ethnic intimidation should be added to the other charges Thomas faces. He could potentially face federal charges as well, if the FBI determines the attack was a hate crime.
Assault with intent to murder is a very serious charge; in fact, if convicted, the defendant could face any number of years to life in prison. Regardless of the facts of the case, every individual is innocent of allegations made against him or her until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors must prove specific elements of a crime in order for a defendant to be found guilty; a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney will work to challenge the evidence, find weaknesses in the state’s case, and do whatever it takes to protect your freedom, reputation, and future.
If you have been arrested for any serious or violent crime, do not hesitate before contacting an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer.