By Caroline Boras
It has been more than eight years since Jammie Lane was found stabbed to death in his Leesburg home. On Tuesday, his family was offered a sense of closure.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman announced in a press conference that Leesburg Police Department investigators believe Elias Abuelazam is responsible for Lane’s death. Lane was 44 when he died on March 26, 2009.
Abuelazam had been a suspect in this case since 2011, when he was arrested at an Atlanta airport in connection to one homicide in Indiana, five homicides in Michigan, nine stabbings in Michigan, and one stabbing in Ohio.
He also is suspect in a series of three stabbings that occurred in Leesburg in August 2010.
Because of the severity of the cases in Michigan, Plowman said the Loudoun investigators and prosecutors deferred prosecution to Michigan. There, Abuelazam was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in June 2012.
At the time of Abuelazam’s sentencing, investigators could not strongly link him to Lane’s death.
“We were reasonably confident Mr. Abuelazam was connected to the Lane homicide, yet we did not have sufficient evidence to move forward at that time,” Plowman said. “After we determined that all reasonable means had been exhausted, detectives made several attempts to interview Mr. Abuelazam in the prison system up in Michigan.”
The interviews with Abuelazam did not bring the detectives any new information, but Plowman said they kept the lines of communication open with Abuelazam anyway. Two weeks ago, Abuelazam reached out to detectives for another interview and conditionally agreed to speak about Lane’s death.
“We did agree to give him immunity for the statements that he was going to provide to detectives,” Plowman said. “Based off the statements that he did provide detectives, we are confident he is responsible for the murder of Jammie Lane.”
Abuelazam provided Leesburg Police Detective Doug Shaw with enough information about the crime and crime scene to make investigators confident he committed the crime.
Plowman said he would not file charges against Abuelazam in the Lane case because there is no additional punishment the Leesburg court system can provide. Talking to Abuelazam two weeks ago was more about getting answers and closure for the family, not about prosecuting, Plowman said.
“It feels so good to have closure. It feels so good to not be in fear like I have been for the past eight years,” Lane’s wife Youdella Allen said. “I know Jammie’s smiling down on us today, and I know he’s finally at peace.”
Lane’s stepdaughter, Katherine Thompson, described the last eight years as “devastating,” and thanked all those involved in the investigation for their work.
Abuelazam lived in the same neighborhood as Lane and his family. Allen said she never spoke to Abuelazam and her only interactions with him were the occasional nod. She said she did not suspect him at the time of Lane’s death.
There was talk that Lane’s murder was racially motivated, but Plowman did not agree. He said Abuelazam was delusional or conspiracy-minded about something he thought Lane had done.
Caroline Boras is an intern with Loudoun Now. She’s studying journalism and Russian studies at Washington & Lee University.