by Jackie Snyder
People v. Adam Malik concluded Thursday, June 11, 2015, as both the prosecution and defense rested. Only a few short days later, on June 15, 2015, the jury returned their verdict – not guilty of the charge of attempted murder. The jury did, however, convict Malik of the two lesser charges, assault with great bodily injury and threats to commit a crime.
Malik, a former Marine, was charged with attempted murder after an incident involving himself and another individual. In the early morning of October 15, 2014, Malik came across the victim attempting to enter a high bedroom window. The victim, holding what Malik believed to be a bat or a piece of wood with nails sticking out of it, stepped off of a ladder and advanced toward Malik. Malik found this threatening and made the decision to seize the victim and place a knife to the victim’s throat. Malik then demanded that he put his weapon down. Malik released the victim once he felt the victim was being cooperative, and began to walk away. The victim then picked up a knife, and in return Malik stabbed the victim in the shoulder.
The defense provided several witnesses who testified to the fact Malik suffered from severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the result of his service as a Marine (as well as another significant event). In an effort to cope with his symptoms of PTSD and pain from injuries while serving as a Marine, he was prescribed anxiety and pain medication, to which he later became addicted. It would seem that his PTSD and issues of addiction played a large part in his history of breaking the law (Malik had several run-ins with the law after being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps). While this is in no way an excuse to commit acts of violence, or any criminal act for that matter, one might believe it makes sense to take Malik’s history into consideration while deciding his fate.
Testimony from witnesses, including an expert witness on PTSD, attempted to help jurors understand what takes place in the mind of an individual suffering from PTSD and why an individual with the disorder may behave or react in a certain way. This, along with Malik’s decision to testify, provided jurors with the opportunity to hear his side of the story, may have significantly aided in the jury’s decision to not convict Malik of attempted murder.
The jury did convict Malik of the lesser crimes – assault with great bodily injury and threats to commit a crime, both of which seemed more appropriate, given the facts of the case. Sentencing is set to take place on a later date.