Community supports ax incident suspect

By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A week after he allegedly hit another student in the face with an ax, a 16 year old Hanover County boy is getting support from the community. Residents are getting signatures on a petition asking that Omar Abdelaal not be tried as an adult.

The petition is going around and as of right now it has more than 200 signatures on it. Some Hanover County residents believe Abdelaal was being bullied and just acted in self defense.

The incident was caught by Tractor Supply surveillance cameras. The victim had to have more than 100 stitches to repair damage to his face. Those who know Abdelaal depict him as being a good student, in mostly AP classes and they say he should be tried as a minor. Those who know both of the boys are not buying it.

"I believe that he knew that he shouldn't be swinging an ax at somebody's head trying to kill somebody at all, says classmate, David Weirup. "I don't think self defense should escalate to swinging an ax."

"I think his personality had nothing to do with whether he gets charged as an adult or a minor but the crime he committed against another person," says classmate, Kelly Fleischer. "So I do believe he should be tried as an adult. Adult crime, adult punishment."

Our legal analyst, Steve Benjamin, tells us that a petition like this would rarely be factored into how the case plays out.

The only personal opinions prosecutors might consider are that of the victim's and his family. Then it's up to them to make an objective decision for legal purposes and the safety of the community. Abdelaal has a preliminary court hearing on Novermber 13.

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