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Michigan prosecutors say that a 23-year-old driver told police that he was under demonic control when he allegedly killed one girl and critically injured another on Memorial Day weekend.
“Being even under like, ‘Demonic control’ and that was the word he was using, and having demonic thoughts at this time,” the prosecutor said. “Those are very disturbing facts that point to someone who is a danger to the community.”
Ghadir Saleh and her family were recent immigrants from war-torn Yemen and its was their first trip to Belle Isle Beach, Michigan on Memorial Day.
Police say that Alexander Armond Smith was driving on Belle Isle when he drove off the road and onto the beach, hitting two girls who were out on a walk. Afterwards, Smith drove away from the crash, but police quickly intercepted him.
Both girls were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Ghadir Saleh died from her injuries, but her 14-years-old sister was upgraded to stable condition at the hospital.
Smith was charged with homicide, failure to stop at the scene of the crash when at fault, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of the incident. Police added that there may be more charges in the future since the investigation is on going.
Smith’s driving record showed his license was restricted at the time of the incident, stipulating that he was only to drive to certain places like work, home, treatment or support groups.
Secretary of State records show Smith has an operating while intoxicated conviction from March 2022. Smith also admitted to having over a bottle of wine when the incident occurred.
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Prosecutors say Smith told them that he was under demonic control or having demonic thoughts when he hit the Saleh sisters.
“May I explain myself please,” Smith said during the hearing.
FOX2 Detroit reported that Smith spoke several times during the proceedings, however, the judge ruled that he was remanded to jail, meaning that he received no bond.
“While I understand from the investigator’s report that the mother has said there have not been mental health issues, and counselor I understand there have not been diagnosed mental health issues, (but) this investigator’s report raises a lot of concern,” the judge said.
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Defense attorney Brandon Kizy said Smith has the support of his father and family while living with his mother.
“The public is protected, he’s not an active menace to society your honor,” Kizy said. “And also he is not a very dangerous person, he doesn’t have an assaultive nature or anything like that.”
“We think he is absolutely a danger to the community,” prosecutors argued.
On Friday, a few hundred people gathered at Lowery Middle School in Dearborn, Michigan to remember Ghadir Saleh.
Despite being a member of the community for a few months, Ghadir, whose family recently immigrated from war-torn Yemen, made a lasting impact on her classmates and teachers.
“Such a tragic event, we have to support the family and we have to show how much we care,” a teacher from the school told Fox 2. “And she left a mark on all of us, because usually newcomers are reserved, are quiet. She was very happy to be here.
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Ghadir dreamed of becoming a lawyer one day.
Smith will remain in jail until his next court date June 14th. He’s scheduled for a probable cause conference. A preliminary exam is scheduled for June 21.