A Spokane County jury saw graphic photographs and heard descriptions Tuesday of the tire-iron attack last year against an Iraqi refugee who had come to the United States after helping the U.S. military.
Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz told the jury how the gruesome beating took place. But, Steinmetz did not say why Grant T. McAdams, 25, allegedly committed attempted first-degree murder and first-degree robbery on May 9, 2011.
The victim, Emad Mohammed Salih, had been trained as a lawyer in Iraq.
After his efforts to help the U.S. military, Salih believed he was being targeted by al-Qaida operatives and was granted refugee status to relocate his family here, Steinmetz said.
On the day in question, Salih had finished his job for the day landscaping at a bank and had stopped at a convenience store where he encountered McAdams.
Salih agreed to give McAdams – who has previous convictions for burglary – a ride to North Standard Street and East Ermina Avenue. Once they arrived, witnesses heard an argument and then watched as the attack unfolded.
“As (Salih) was trying to stagger away from the car, the defendant was over him beating him with full strikes to the head,” Steinmetz said. After a neighbor told McAdams he had called police, he “got in a few more strikes, ran to Mr. Salih’s car and drove away.”
Witnesses believe Salih suffered between 10 and 15 direct “full swings” to the head. Several neighbors rushed to his aid as he bled on the street. The attack required several days of care in a local hospital, followed by treatment at a severe head trauma unit.
After the attack, neighbor Lori Kramer rushed to Salih’s side with paper towels and water to render aid until the ambulance arrived.
“He was terrified and scared” Kramer said of Salih.
“He was speaking in broken English and he was worried about his son.”
Neighbor Dennis O’Brien said he watched the suspect chase the taller Salih down the street, leaping into the air to make contact on the top of Salih’s head.
“I told him, ‘You are going to kill him. We have called the police.’ It looked like he was focused on hitting his head,” O’Brien said. Salih “was lying on the ground, covered in blood. He kept saying, ‘My son, my son.’ We told him to lie still.”
Defense attorney Mark Hannibal also did not provide a motive or suggest that Salih had done anything to provoke the attack.
“Many of the facts of this case are not in dispute,” Hannibal said.
“We ask that you pay close attention. It’s our belief that when you put it all together, you will have some questions … and the state will not have proven this case beyond a reasonable doubt.”