2nd suspect convicted of kidnapping, robbery in 2021 abduction, slaying of Ohio imam

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A second man has been convicted on charges stemming from the death of an Ohio religious leader authorities said was killed in a botched robbery attempt.

Isaiah Brown-Miller, 23, was convicted Friday of kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges in his third trial in the December 2021 death of 48-year-old Columbus imam Mohamed Hassan Adam, a prominent figure in the Somali community. A co-defendant was earlier convicted of murder in the case.

Jurors in Franklin County deliberated for about 14 hours over two days and twice reported an impasse before arriving at the guilty verdicts, the Columbus Dispatch reported. The judge revoked his bail and will sentence him to prison at a later date. Earlier trials in February and June had ended in mistrials after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

Adam, a longtime imam at Masjid Abu Hurairah mosque on the northeast side of Columbus, was found dead of multiple gunshots in a van in December 2021, two days after he went missing during a trip to pick up a child from day care.

Franklin County prosecutors alleged during the trials of the two men that the defendants were trying to get money from Adam and possibly from the mosque’s funds to which the imam had access. Investigators said earlier there was no indication Adam was targeted because of his faith or because he was a member of the Somali community.

Defense attorney Toure McCord had sought dismissal of the charges after the second mistrial, saying it was unlikely any jury would convict his client. He said in final arguments in the third trial that prosecutors had failed to prove that his client was involved in any way and pointed to several people he said could be alternative suspects.

Brown-Miller was not charged with murder in the case. Another jury in October convicted his codefendant, 47-year-old John Wooden, of aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and other charges in Adam’s death. He faces a mandatory life term in prison and at least 20 years before being eligible for parole. One of his attorneys, Paul Scarsella, alleged that the prosecution’s case against Wooden was built on assumptions and police failed to follow all leads.