Week of September Oct. 17 – Oct. 23
Man Stabs Woman He Claims Is a Witch
Grand Forks, ND
A 21-year-old man stalked a woman with the intent to kill her because he believed she was a witch. Akmal Rashidovich Azizov confessed to police that he had been stalking a University of North Dakota student for weeks because he thought she was wicked. Azizov was the 2016 Stillwater High School valedictorian in Oklahoma before moving to attend college in North Dakota.
The illegal immigrant said the victim was “the cause of all the stress and negativity in his life” and that he needed to “slay her.” According to court documents, Azizov claimed the woman had cursed him. He prepared for the attack by purchasing an antique silver pocketknife on the internet, believing the specialized weapon was the only way to kill her. The suspect followed the victim to her apartment but “lost his nerve” when it came to executing his plan. He later returned and was able to carry out an assault.
According to authorities, Azizov attacked the woman from behind and stabbed her several times before attempting to slash her throat. The victim was able to get away and seek assistance at a neighbor’s home. She escaped with non-life-threatening wounds; according to the suspect’s attorney the knife used in the attack wasn’t sharp enough to cause substantial harm. The attorney also asserted that Azizov is schizophrenic. On Oct. 21, Azizov pleaded guilty to attempted murder, stalking, and criminal mischief, and is scheduled to be sentenced next month. After being arrested, he told authorities that he would try to kill the victim again if released, so he is being held without bond. After serving his time, he could be deported back to his home country of Uzbekistan.
Rapist Caught After 17 Years
Sonoma County, CA
A man accused of rape and fleeing the country is now in custody, 17 years after the crime. Juan Martinez Lopes, 39, allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl in 2002. According to reports, Lopes molested the teen in a Santa Rosa field and assaulted her again when she tried to run away. The victim was able to escape after the second rape and hid inside a car until Lopes left the area. She then called the police to report the crime.
The victim identified Lopes from photos shown to her by law enforcement, but the suspect escaped to Mexico before he could be arrested. In a twist of fate, Lopes was picked up last month for public intoxication in Madera County, and detectives from Sonoma drove to the location with the rape victim’s forensic evidence. The officers obtained a DNA sample from the suspect, which matched the evidence that had been found on the victim at the time of the crime.
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