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Defense attorney requests 2nd competency hearing for suspect in stabbing of Paterson imam

The first evaluation was not completed due to a language barrier. Suspect Serif Zorba only speaks Turkish.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Apr 27, 2023, 9:11 PM

Updated 445 days ago

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The man accused of stabbing a Paterson imam faced a court hearing Thursday afternoon.
Serif Zorba is accused of stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib inside the Omar Mosque on April 9.
The imam’s son attended the hearing. He also provided an update on his father’s condition.
“He’s recovering it’s been a long and painful recovery for him due to the severity of his injuries and his age as well,” says Bilal Elnakib.
Sayed Elnakib served his congregation for 30 years. He is out of the hospital and is recovering at home.
Bilal Elnakib says that his father suffered a collapsed lung in the attack.
Surveillance video appears to show Zorba, 32, walking over to other members of the mosque during prayer and stabbing the imam.
“We don’t know anything about this guy or his motive or what happened,” says Bilal Elnakib.
Zorba appeared in court virtually before Judge Scott Rumana. The judge explained why the suspect’s attorney was not allowing the defendant to speak.
“We are keeping Mr. Zorba’s microphone on mute for his own protection under the circumstances,” Rumana said.
There was a concern that because of his mental health and volatility, he may incriminate himself. The defense requested a second mental health evaluation. The first evaluation was not completed due to a language barrier. Zorba only speaks Turkish.
“We find it necessary to request for a more in-depth competency evaluation of Mr. Zorba,” Zorba’s defense attorney said.
Zorba is facing charges of attempted murder and weapons possession charges. He has already entered a not guilty plea to the charges. Another update in the case is expected in May.
The Elnakib family has set up a GoFundMe page and LaunchGood page to help in the imam’s recovery.


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