By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Three male suspects, ages 17, 14 and 13 were arrested and charged for allegedly killing Saja Aljanabi, 29, of Warren outside her family’s house in the 7800 block of Bingham Sept. 6.
Jamel Philson, 17 of Highland Park, Demaurio Dismuke, 14, of Detroit and a 13-year-old also were charged by Wayne County Prosector Kym Worthy for two armed robberiess that took place the same night.
The 13-year-old will have an adult designation, so if convicted the judge is allowed to sentence him as a juvenile, adult or a blended juvenile and adult sentence.
Philson will be charged as an adult and Dismuke will be waived and tried as an adult. All three suspects were remanded into custody with no bond, according to the prosector’s press release.
Both were in 19th District Court in front of Judge Mark Somers for an arraignment Sept. 13 and are scheduled to be back in court for a pre-exam conference at 9 a.m. Sept. 20.
Philson and Dismuke were charged with felony murder and two counts of armed robbery. Dismuke also was charged with assault with the attempt to committee the crime of murder and three counts of felony firearm.
Due to the felony charges, the court could not accept a plea from either teenager.
The 13-year-old was charged with felony murder and the underlying crimes, larceny of a person and armed robbery.
Police Chief Ronald Haddad said during a press conference at the Dearborn Police Department that Aljanabi’s death was connected to one of three robberies or “random acts of violence” in Dearborn between 9:40 and 9:53 p.m. on Sept. 6.
The first robbery took place at Steadman and Morross when a woman’s purse was stolen at gun point. Dismuke and the 13-year-old allegedly were involved in that armed robbery.
Shortly after, a second call came in about a woman who was shot during a robbery at Bingham and Morross.
That woman was Aljanabi who was sitting in her 2014 Buick Regal when she encountered the teenagers, was shot and had her purse stolen. Haddad said the three teens concealed their identity at the time of the robbery.
Allegedly Dismuke robbed and shot Aljanabi, but was aided by Philson.
Aljanabi was found bleeding by her brother Ali Aljanabi, 23, after she arrived at the family’s house, when he attempted to rescue her. She died while being transported to Henry Ford Hospital.
A third report was responded to at Jonathan near Morross after a man was assaulted at gun point. Haddad said shots were fired at the man and the attackers ran north on Jonathan.
Dismuke allegedly fired the shot while fleeing the scene.
Responding officers searched the area where they were able to identify the teenager’s vehicle from security video. Police were able to develop additional information and obtain another picture of the vehicle from a different security video.
Haddad said tips from the community were sorted through and Aljanabi’s purse was recovered in Detroit. He said help from Detroit police and federal agencies led to a major first break in the case where an arrest was made.
A Detroit police officer observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle run a red light at Grand River and Evergreen Road about 4:30 p.m. Sept. 7 and crash into another vehicle. When the crash was called in, undercover police working in the area went to the scene, Haddad said.
Police tracked down the driver and passenger in the vehicle that caused the crash after both attempted to run.
Philson was arrested as a suspect in the murder and the passenger was released. Two others in the second vehicle did not suffer injuries as a result of the crash, but their car was totaled.
On Sept. 9, police arrested Dismuke at Nardin Park in Detroit at 5:30 p.m. following work by the department to identify him, Haddad said. A second person who was armed with a gun and with Dismuke also was taken into custody.
Police declined to comment on the details of the 13-year-old teenager’s arrest.
“We didn’t want anyone hurt and based on the amount of work we had done I was reasonably satisfied that we had mitigated the threat by these three individuals because we knew where they were and we kept them in check,” Haddad said. “I just want to make sure the community understands in spite of the fact that it took us three days to make disclosures, we knew who they were and we were working those cases actively.”
In total, Haddad said five people were taken into custody, but only three are currently being held. One of the three teenagers apprehended was wearing a GPS tether which did not help police locate him, but track movements after the arrest.
Haddad did not say who the shooter was, and said that would come out during court proceedings and added police are confident they know who the shooter is.
Worthy was notified about the case early on and directed the department through the case with her entire team, Haddad also said.
Saja Aljanabi’s family provided police with assistance in the case which aided the Police Department in collecting evidence and information to obtain warrants and charges.
On Sept. 8, a memorial with candles, photos and white roses was held outside of Aljanabi’s house by family members and community. The Aljanabi family moved to the United States about 20 years ago from Iraq and settled in Michigan.
Aljanabi’s father and uncle were killed in Iraq, Karbala Islamic Education Center Director Imam Husham Al-Husainy said during the press conference.
“I wanted to thank the Dearborn police for their fast, quick investigation and they captured the criminals and we trust their investigation and we’re looking forward for the punishment of the criminals,” he said.
Ali Aljanabi also thanked Dearborn police for their work.
“They only had one evidence of the white car they found in Detroit and they gathered all the information,” he said. “I really appreciate what they did for us. I would thank everybody who helped come up with information, the video tape and all that. I mean, it is what it is. Hopefully soon they are going to be in jail and find justice for my sister.”
A GoFundMe page to cover Saja Aljanabi’s funereal costs was started by Ali Aljanabi with a goal of $20,000. As of Sept. 13, the page showed $13,965 raised by 296 donors.
She was buried Sept. 9 at Maple Grove Cemetery in Westland.
To donate go to www.gofundme.com/f/our-angel-sajas-funeral.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])