A jury of seven men and five women convicted a Spokane man Tuesday of attacking an Iraqi refugee with a tire iron and leaving him with severe head injuries.
Sentencing has not been set, but 25-year-old Grant T. McAdams faces somewhere between 17 and 22 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery for the May 9, 2011, attack that nearly killed Emad Mohammed Salih, who immigrated to Spokane after helping the U.S. military in his native Iraq.
The jury also found that McAdams was armed with a deadly weapon during both crimes, which adds a total of four years to his sentence, defense attorney Mark Hannibal said. But the jury did not convict McAdams of his original charge of attempted first-degree murder, which would have added between six to eight years onto the sentence.
McAdams, who has previous convictions for burglary, folded his hands behind his head, leaned forward onto the table and cried as Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt polled the jury about its unanimous decision.
“He maintains it wasn’t him,” Hannibal said of his client. “Our theory of the case is that another person committed the assault and Grant happened upon the car” which was shown to have his palm print on its exterior.
In opening arguments, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said McAdams attacked Salih, who had been trained as a lawyer in Iraq. After offering help to the U.S. military, he was awarded refugee status and relocated his family here to avoid possible targeting by al-Qaida operatives.
Salih had finished his job for the day on May 9, 2011, and stopped at a convenience store where he encountered McAdams. Salih agreed to give McAdams a ride to North Standard Street and East Ermina Avenue.
Witnesses near that location said they heard an argument, then saw a man matching McAdams’ description chasing Salih while hitting him over the head with a tire iron.
The attack, which included 10 to 15 “full swings” to Salih’s head, required several days of care in a local hospital, followed by treatment at a severe head trauma unit.
Salih did not attend the verdict. Steinmetz said he did not wish to comment following the verdict.
A sentencing date has not been set but is expected to be sometime after mid-July.