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Posted on Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Ann Arbor armed robbery suspect: 'I was going through withdrawals, I was desperate'

By John Counts


Ahmad Abdullah-Albasir

Courtesy of WCSO

The 30-year-old man accused of robbing four Ann Arbor businesses confessed them all in a recorded police interview played for a judge at a hearing Thursday.

Judge Richard Conlin ultimately bound three of the cases over to circuit court.

Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor John Vella used the confession as his final piece of evidence which was admitted despite an argument from Ahmed Abdullah-Albasir’s defense attorney that the statement was coerced and violated his client’s constitutional rights.

Conlin allowed the recording for preliminary examination purposes only. The recording followed testimony from employees at the Subway, GameStop and Biggby Coffee Abdullah-Albasir is accused of robbing with either a knife or a gun.

Ann Arbor police detectives also testified.

The taped confession and testimony was enough for Conlin to find probable cause the three crimes were committed and Abdullah-Albasir was the one responsible.

An examination for a fourth case involving a second Subway restaurant was adjourned until Aug. 22 because a witness could not make it to the Thursday hearing to testify.

In the taped confession, Abdullah-Albasir told police he immediately went and bought heroin after each robbery.

“I was going through withdrawals,” he told a detective during the interview. “I got desperate.”

Leaving the knife behind

The first in Abdullah-Albasir’s alleged armed robbery spree occurred April 30 at the GameStop at 3225 Washtenaw Ave.

Ryan Todd was working when the robbery suspect walked in, he testified.

“He quickly walked into the store, told (a co-worker) to get on the ground and told me to open up the register,” Todd said, adding that the suspect had a kitchen knife with a 3- to 4-inch blade on it and was wearing a ski mask.

“I was being threatened with a knife,” he testified, so he opened up the register where the suspect grabbed $234.

At this time, Todd said he noticed some markings he thought were either a tattoo or a birthmark on the suspect’s neck. In later testimony, Vella tried to link that recollection with a picture an Ann Arbor police detective took of Abdullah-Albasir’s neck showing marks and Abdullah-Albasir telling police in the taped interview he compulsively scratches and picks scabs in that area.

Todd testified that after the suspect took the money, he left the kitchen knife on a display table near the front of the store and left.

Because the suspect was wearing a ski mask, Todd could not positively identify Abdullah-Albasir, nor could any of the other witnesses since the suspect’s face in all the robberies was covered.

Cash register or espresso machine?

Later that week, on May 2, the Biggby Coffee shop at 2550 W. Stadium Blvd. was robbed at knifepoint around 3:51 p.m.

Ian O’Harris, a manager and barista at the coffee shop, said there were about 30-40 people inside at the time. O’Harris testified the suspect came in and walked straight to an area behind the counter.

“He said he did not want to hurt anyone and he pulled (a knife) out,” O’Harris said, adding the suspect pointed the knife near his ribs.

The suspect grabbed all the money from the first register and then a second register. O’Harris said the suspect pointed at a third machine on the counter.

“He asked him if there was more money,” O’Harris said. “I told him it was an espresso machine.”

The suspect then fled out the door.

“I faintly heard him say ‘Sorry,’ when he left,” said Alyssa Culler, who was also working as a barista that day.

'I thought he was going to shoot us'

On July 12, Loretta Milliner was working at the Subway at 2140 W. Stadium Blvd. around 6 p.m. when a man walked into the restaurant with a bandana on his face like a “cowboy bandit,” she testified.

Milliner said she was loading the bread carts when the man came to the counter and told her he didn’t want to hurt anyone and that she should open the cash register.

“He goes in his pocket and I see the silver tip of a gun,” she said. “I thought he was going to shoot us.”

In the taped confession, Abdullah-Albasir said he did not use a gun in any of the robberies.

Milliner testified that she opened the drawer and the suspect grabbed money and ran out the door.

Police interview

Ann Arbor police said a description of the vehicle used in the robberies was developed. A vehicle was subsequently linked to Abdullah-Albasir and police executed a search warrant at his home in the 700 block of N. Maple Road July 18.

The taped confession was made that same day. Abdullah-Albasir’s attorney, Ali Hammoud, argued Thursday that there is a point on the tape where his client clearly states he wanted a lawyer. Hammoud asked that the tape not even be played for the judge, who disagreed.

Hammoud continued to argue that the confession violated Abdullah-Albasir’s constitutional right against self-incrimination.

The recording of Ann Arbor police Detective William Stanford interviewing Abdullah-Albasir was eventually played in its entirety for the judge and courtroom.

In it, Abdullah-Albasir answers numerous questions about what vehicle he used, where he parked and what he wore at the four robberies.

At one moment, he recounts the first GameStop robbery.

“I didn’t plan on going through with it until I was at the front of the store,” he said.

Abdullah-Albasir admitted he went and bought heroin after each robbery and said he didn’t have money for rehab.

Abdullah-Albasir is charged with one count of armed robbery in each case. A count of carrying a concealed weapon was added to one case and a count of carrying a weapon with unlawful intent was added to another case at Thursday's hearing.

The case will next be heard in Judge Archie Brown at the Washtenaw County Trial Court. A pretrial hearing was set for Sept. 18. Abdullah-Albasir remains in custody at the jail on a $1.2 million bond.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

I did heroin with Ahmad. There is free treatment in Ann Arbor. I utilized it myself. I am doing fine. many desperate individuals become willing to get through withdrawal and get clean. he now has that opportunity. its too bad he'll be in prison. There are many with non violent crimes that should've received treatment, but violent offenses do not warrant so. The people don't like violence. He had the option to do treatment on numerous occasions. A kind person he was, but not so kind he became as his illness progressed. Hopefully he won't use heroin in prisons. Stealing is one thing but tricking so much get in others will most likely not be tolerated. Our prisons don't have room for non violent offenders, but the violent offenders will be housed. He'll be out in four years. Hopefully his family will stop enabling him to continue to do So, and maybe we need to stop enabling his family. Treatment works, if the patient wants to be treated. Prison is rehab just like any other. sometimes drugs get in, sometimes they make liquor, and sometimes prisoners don't even use; but that's up to the inmate. The key is getting clean enough and being honest enough to make a sound decision. There are resources, we do need more resources for alcoholics and addicts, but the state of Michigan utilizes treatment as not just a cheaper alternative. Many treatment centers the state utilizers hold a sub standard for actually treating the problem. It's a racket.


Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

@John Counts: Can you tells us as to how the person is able to manage the addiction problem while he remains in custody? People who are in custody are taken to the hospital if they experience sudden, medical emergency. If an addict experiences serious withdrawal symptoms while in police custody, do they get any medical attention? I met this person briefly a couple of times, and my impression was, he is modest, well-behaved, and a decent person with a friendly disposition.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

I hope the guy in question finds a cure for his addiction. If he doesn't, well, I hope he likes prison life. In the end, now that he knows about the effects of heroin, it's his own decision.

shadow wilson

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

Isn't it interesting that his ..desperation"... caused him to commit this crime? What if there were a police officer in these businesses?; would his desperation made him rob the places anyway? We all know the answer. Why did he not rob say a auto repair place where there might have been men there easily able to over power him? The only way an addict changes is when he/she decides to.This guy is a manipulative addict trying to garner your sympathy.....I hope you all see how transparent it is.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

This history of Prohibition tells us what happens when you ban drugs. Michigan was so severe that four convictions got you a life sentence. Did that stop alcohol use? No. Gangs developed, murdered each other, and flooded the U.S. with alcohol. People finally woke up to see that the religious right's "war" on alcohol wasn't working. When will moralistic people figure out that you can't solve the drug problem by outlawing drugs? Rather than punishing people and thereby increasing the rewards to drug dealers, we should treat it as a medical problem. Marijuana is moving in that direction with people in a couple of states (Colorado and Washington) waking up and realizing people should have a choice and if they become addicted, it is a medical problem. The prisons budget for the state of Michigan is huge. When are people going to wake up?

shadow wilson

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

I don't care if drugs are legalized or not but statistically speaking drugs are legal i.e. opiates as in oxy, codeine, morphine, dilaudid etc. And there has been a great increase in deaths related to use of those be careful what you ask for


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Portugal made drug use a medical problem about five years ago. That's something we could do, too, so these people get help instead of being put away for a time and then released to do it again. The war on drugs is stupid. Too many people want "war" against everything.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

I was in the area at the time of GameStop robbery, but had only realized it when Police responded to the incident. As a society, and as a community, we have to account for the presence of drugs. There is the problem of corruption that allows drugs to enter the country, and there is the problem of corruption that allows their distribution in the country. We are simply trying to solve one face of a growing problem; the problems caused by addicts. If honesty is impossible to achieve, drugs will easily flow into the country. At a fundamental level, we have to define our mission to educate our children and include the development of character as the primary objective of educational experience.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 3:40 a.m.

I know what Abdullah-Albasir did was very wrong, and I am all for people accepting responsibility and being accountable for their actions or (non-actions), but I sense he is feeling genuinely remorse for what he did and that his desire to receive treatment for his addiction is sincere. I seriously doubt he would have hurt anyone although I'm sure they felt threatened as I know I would have. I hope he gets the treatment he needs and another chance to walk the straight and narrow after he's clean. We all make mistakes, although by the sound of some of these comments, there are some very self-righteous people out there. Sure hope I never meet them, I'd hate to be around someone so perfect that they can't afford another human being a bit of compassion when they fall.


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Sue, totally agree. Compassion seems to be on the endangered list these days!

martini man

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

Maybe some of you bleeding heart liberals can take this guy in to your homes to help with his rehabilitation. He could clean your house your kids, help your teenage daughters with their homework etc. Wouldn't that make you feel all gooey and warm and fuzzy inside ???? Go for it ..Go for it !!!


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

MM, better a bleeding heart than none at all.

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 3:36 a.m.

You're making a big assumption that people here haven't had recovering addicts in their environment. In fact, it could be that exposure which inspires compassion.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

This guy and his family have gotten handouts their entire lives. A hand out is not a hand up. Couldn't afford rehab? Why not? It's free like everything else for you and your family. Sell your car. Get a job. Show up at a hospital and ask for help. Put your big boy pants on and give back to the society you've been freeloading off your entire life.

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:08 a.m.

Rehab generally is not free.....can cost around $30,000 for a month's treatment. And how do you know this guy and his family have gotten handouts their entire lives?

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

Wait... "this guy and his family"? Do you actually know his family? Do you actually know this person? I sense your claims are utter bs, based on stereotyping and hatred of those not like you. Also, treatment isn't always available immediately. The free access often means waiting for a bed. Addiction affects one's ability to reason. So, the notion that someone should just "put on their big boy pants" is ridiculous.

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

Actually, the best way to get into treatment is to be court-ordered. Then the sheriff or judge willingly pays for it.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Wait. He became an addict (by choice, no one held him down) and after he became addicted to a KNOWN highly addictive substance, heroin, we are supposed to excuse his criminal activity? And feel sorry for him having to rob and threaten other peoples lives? Well, he's through withdrawal by now so he should get the full freight for his crimes!


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 4:05 a.m.

Both of these responders show how little they know about ADDICTION. Responsible Citizen, you are the one who is ignorant here. Heroin is inherently addicting as is nicotine. There is no "Social" use of these substances; use them you WILL be an addict no matter you family history or genetic makeup or up bringing. Any one who claims not to know this in todays world is in complete denial. People have an ego that has them believe it wont happen to ME and they are wrong. To Basic Bob; Sorry but nowhere does the article nor does Ahmad, himself claim he's addicted via medical RX. It can happen but those folks can get anything else they use on the street and stick with their pills and rarely go to Heroin.

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

Dfossil.....your ignorance is alarming. No one becomes an addict by choice. You are born with the propensity to become addicted or not, and unfortunately, no one knows if they have the metabolic propensity until they ingest. Same with alcoholics, and that's legal. Educate yourself before you open your mouth and prove how little you know.

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

People rarely wake up and decide that today is the day they will shoot heroin for the first time. And you know this how? Perhaps his DOCTOR gave him prescription opiods for PAIN. Then when he ran out with a raging addiction to pills, heroin seemed like a good alternative.

Marsha Duncan

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

I have known Ahmed for several years and was saddened to read this story. He is a kind, thoughtful, warm and friendly individual. When I worked with him he was always responsible and honest. I hope he gets help for his problems--not just jail time. Anyone like Ahmed should be able to get services and support for getting well.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

I fear that his previous stupid decisions will actually be used as an excuse for his most recent. It's unfortunate that no one was armed, now we get to pay for this degenerate's treatment and/or prison stay. And then we'll get to pay for it again when he repeats all the same mistakes down the road. Ship him away.

Responsible Citizen

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

Have you ever heard of rehabilitation? Much cheaper and more humane than just locking him up. Check into Washtenaw County Sobriety Court. Works and returns people to a life without drugs and alcohol, and most graduates of the program lead sober responsible lives and turn around and pay it forward. Have a little compassion. Yes, he made a mistake, but how much better to rehabilitate him than locking him away foisntr many years. This isnt Dickensonian England. Yes, he made a mistake. Thank God no one was hurt.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

I am "desperate" for money too-to pay my bills. But I sure won't be robbing anyone to get it! He is just another dangerous loser.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

John: "Abdullah-Albasir's attorney, Ali Hammoud, argued Thursday that there is a point on the tape where his client clearly states he wanted a lawyer." The whole tape was played in court. What did Abdullah-Albasir say about wanting an attorney? Seems like that may be a crucial fact in this case.

John Counts

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

This portion of the tape was played and replayed several times in court as Hammoud made a motion to not admit the confession. As you can imagine, a recording with two people speaking (Abdullah-Albasir and Detective William Stanford), sometimes over each other, isn't always the most intelligible. Plus, the attorneys had the speakers on the judge's bench, so from where I was sitting in the gallery, I couldn't hear the recording very well. With that said, Hammoud's contention is that at a certain point Abdullah-Albasir directly asked "I want an attorney." Police and prosecutors contend he said something more along the lines of, "I don't want to be a jerk, but am I allowed to have an attorney?" Stanford clearly stated a few times that he could have an attorney present if he so chose, including after that exchanged. After listening to it several times, the judge agreed. As I said, it wasn't the clearest of exchanges and I couldn't make out verbatim what was said, but Abdullah-Albasir did not clearly and definitively ask for an attorney from what I could hear.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:14 p.m.

I happen to know Ahmad very well. He's one of the kindest and best people you'd ever want to know. I would trust him with my life when he's got his act together. But addiction is a really horrible thing. This situation is just more proof of it. Only addiction would turn such a kind and gentle person into someone that would do these things. I'm sure he never intended to hurt anyone and I'm sure he *did* say he was sorry as he left. I'm sure he was.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

eJohn, as a person in recovery, I can attest to the truth of what you're saying. Addiction is truly a monster that has those of us who are in recovery literally fighting to stay alive and keep this monster off our back. Ahmad, please, get some help before this thing kills you!!


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Wow...apologists for criminals are the absolute worst. I wonder how your tone would change if it was your son or daughter being threatened with a weapon while they (unlike your scumbag friend) were doing an honest days work. Shame on him, and shame on you.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

I am NOT sure he didn't intended to hurt anyone. He was strung out and could have hurt or killed and innocent person! I am sure he is sorry that he got caught!


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

I love how when the bad guy is a neighboring community resident, the comments seem to reflect a "thank goodness I don't live there" sentiment. Drug addicts robbing businesses, students being shot in their home...thank goodness I live in a neighboring community!

shadow wilson

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

What a lame excuse.I am a recovering opiate addict and I ca tell you .."withdrawals"... are not so bad.....a bad cold is about the same and the flu is much worse.... I hope no one and I mean no one buys this crap because that is what it is crap.

shadow wilson

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Mr.Cooper if you try and tell me or anyone that the hospital you` allegedly work in treats opiate addicts for withdrawal and not related issues or that insurance pays for it you are not telling the truth. I have been in the recovery community a long time.I know substance abuse professionals .This is not some great revelation.It is well known that insurance does not pay for opiate withdrawal because it aint life threatening. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening, the flu potentially is life threatening.....opiate withdrawal is not. Keep patronizing me intelligent people reading this will see thru it and know this guy is your typical manipulative I said it takes one to know one.

Matt Cooper

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 5:12 a.m.

Gotcha. So now you think you can dictate to me what my professional experience is without even knowing me or knowing what ICU I work in or having seen any of the hundreds of patients I have taken care of over the many years of my work experience. And on top of that you now also think you can dictate what hospital policy is, what insurance policies are and which patients qualify to be in an ICU unit. And finally, you think you are so wise and enlightened that without (presumably) knowing the individual in question, or his life situation, or anything else about him other than he claims to be an are also qualified to dictate what his mental state is/was and why he did what he did and/or his motives for what he said. Really? Oh, and as to your comment about "And no this is not just my opinion but the opinion of many doctors look it up." That, to me, is laughable. I work with some of the best pulmonary doctors on the planet, so no, I don't have to look anything up. I would suggest that before you make comments here about what is this or what is that, that you might educate yourself a bit. As I pointed out already, your incorrect opinion is based on your own singular personal experience getting clean. Mine is based on getting clean, plus years of education and years more of clinical experience. And no, that's not patronizing. It's just a fact.

shadow wilson

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

You may patronize me to the ends of the earth, I am still right.No one has ever been in your icu for opiate withdrawal.Your hospital would not allow it.Insurance does not pay for it because it is not life threatening If you have had opiate addicts as patients it is for secondary issues, infections etc..n not for opiate withdrawal. And no this is not just my opinion but the opinion of many doctors look it up. hope the guy does get it together.I am simply pointing out that his spiel about being desperate is a very transparent ploy to manipulate and pathetically attempt to garner sympathy. As I said it takes one to know one. I

Matt Cooper

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Hmmm. So your opinion is based on your own detox, and mine is based on not only my experiences in recovery but 12 years working in one of the most acute pulmonary ICU units in the country and taking care of people that are coming off heroin, alcohol and a wide variety of other drugs of abuse. Obviously you are far more of an expert than I. I bow to your superior education and experience.

shadow wilson

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Ive been clean more than twenty one years.And there is no way categorically speaking that withdrawal from opiates even approaches the severity of influenza.....I know I have been is life threatening the other is not. And no one opiate addict is going to be different from another......withdrawal affects everyone about the same. What you have here is your typical manipulative addict.They(think) they are garnering sympathy by over dramatizing their addiction.....I know it takes one to know one.

Matt Cooper

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

Amen eJohn. I've been sober nearly 21 years myself and have seen hundreds of heroin addicts go through withdrawals that make me cringe. And from working in a critical care ICU for the last 12 years, I've seen many addicts spend weeks at a time on a multitude of drugs, comatose, breathing tubes and other forms of life support that without which they would be dead. To say a case of flu is 'much worse' than heroin withdrawals is flat out wrong is most cases.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

Everyone's experience is different. Your situation isn't necessarily going to be the same has his.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Ex-wife is a heroin user with a state felony warrant and a county bench warrant for non- payment of child support for her arrest(over $20,000), but the washtenaw county sheriff's office will not go after her for the state warrant and won't look for her on the bench warrant. In the mean time she collects welfare and gets food stamps, while my children go without. The county only cares about the $.

you can't handle the truth

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

throw away they key


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Throw the book at him. There is no excuse for drug addiction. People make choices and this individual made poor choices. Lock him up for a long time.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Apersonissmart_Peoplearestupid, you'll have to argue that point against the majority of the medical professionals across the world who categorize drug addiction as a disease (see: DSM-5).


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 8 p.m.

JRW---Every Saturday at the Delonis Center @ 7:00 p.m. there is an open AA meeting. I suggest you attend at least one before you judge anyone like this. Maybe, as you suggest, there is no "excuse" for drug addiction, but the world's an imperfect place(dear me!) and EACH and EVERY one of us has made bad choices at one time or another. There but for the grace of God it could be you or me. Addicts are not BAD people. they are SICK people. I hope this guy gets the help he so clearly needs. Sign me, clean/sober for 9+ years, thanks to my Higher Power


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

I totally agree with you, put him away and let him get treatment in the pen. maybe he will come out all better! He is dangerous, just ask the people he robbed.

Matt Cooper

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Apersonissmart..."I agree. Addiction is not a disease, it is a choice. " Are you an addict? If not you have no idea what you're talking about.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

*WORD* addiction....


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

If addiction was the same as a choice, we wouldn't need the work addiction, would we?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

@Dipstick Addition may not be a life choice, but using drugs in the first place was.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

As cold as that's pretty must right. Don't blame the "drug" for the CHOICES this guy made...the choices to hurt other people that he could benefit. Hurting others to further yourself is wrong no matter how you cut it.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

I agree. Addiction is not a disease, it is a choice. Cancer is a disease. If you don't want to be addicted to a substance - don't use it.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Wow, that's harsh. Addition is a chronic disease, not a live choice. Drop by a open AA meeting to meet some people with it!


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

It's really a shame that we can't take the billions of dollars spent every year to fight the "war on drugs" in this country to help people get sober instead. I'll never understand why we continue to pay for the stick and refuse to offer the carrot when it's obvious that the stick isn't working.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

There money to be made for cities,in crime fighting ,drug arrest,tickets,court costs, attorneys,judges, jails, prisons ,all police department , whyf would you even care about helping someone try to put the lives back on track. Have you no heart all the public servents looking out for our well being would be collecting unemployment......can't add more takers we are running out of givers


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Hello MorningGlory, The hundreds of billions spent aleady on the war on drugs are gone with nothing real to show for it but the body count and those whose jobs are dependent on keeping it going will fight right along with the durg lords and religions people who like to see others suffer to keep the war going. Judges, police, courts, companies that build and staff prisons, social workers, probation workers and more have a vested interest in keeping this system in place. Sad, but true.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1 p.m.

This is a good crime story, and I think accounts of court testimony in other cases would likely be interesting, too.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

so misunderstood. Time for Ann Arbor to build a clinic and house those poor individuals who think that drugs are a way out of whatever misfortune they have brought about for themselves.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

M-Wolverine, see comment thread above about access to facilities.

you can't handle the truth

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Just curious. What is this clinic going to provide? Free drugs? Free needles?


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

If only there was a place like Dawn Farms...or the LIGHT House....or anywhere for the drug addicted to go if the WANTED to get clean....


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Not on my dime. Sorry, but they are the ones that start using to begin with. Let them turn to their family, church, counseling, etc. And I have known addicts - selfish people who don't care that they harm the lives of their loved ones.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

I would prefer people being held responsible for their choices. Society has been sliding down a horrible slope ever since we decided that it is the "community's" responsibility to fix the bad choices people make. I believe we would be much better off if people realized that when they put their butt in a sling, no one else is going to get them out of it. Might make them think twice about putting it there.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Could not agree more.

you can't handle the truth

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Is this a joke?

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

I really wish we could do more for people with heroin addiction.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Basic Bob, that's not quite accurate. To get in, you have to either pay, have been convicted of a crime related to the addiction and/or be put on a waiting list for the free services. The most accessible program, Dawn Farms, has been known to run out of beds. ( I'm really glad that with the experimentation I did as a teenager, nothing ever stuck. However, I've seen friend's and acquaintance's lives destroyed. There is a certain point where folks with addictions are no longer in control of their lives. Their decision making process is eroded. It's very tragic. I'm glad no one was physically hurt during this man's crimes and that hopefully he can get the help he needs.

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

It's not like you can check yourself into treatment for marijuana dependency. They simply won't take you. Alcohol, heroin, opioids, crack, or meth will get you into treatment before week.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

BasicBob, it would be nice, but it doesn't always work out that way. Just Curious, he admitted to the crimes and apparently provided quite a bit of detail. That qualifies as taking responsibility for his actions. It would be an omission, a lack of honesty about his actions, to negate the details of his motivation. Pest, we can help them. It's actually a necessary component of the recovery process (medical and social support from family, friends, co-workers, etc.) Also, lets be honest here: not all drug and alcohol use leads to addiction. Regrettably, because of our skewed War on Drugs, that messages gets lost in the sauce. The columnist William Raspberry pointed this out many years ago: if we lie about alcohol always be the "safe" drug and marijuana always the evil weed, people, in particular young folks, won't trust the warnings on things such as heroin. Yes, there are programs out there, but they are under funded (compared to the "War on Drugs") and under staffed.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Is that a joke? There are a myriad of publicly and privately funded programs to help people who seek it. Not that it's honest, hard working citizen's responsibility to pay for degenerate junkies who chose to use what every fifth grader knows is an extremely addictive and dangerous drug.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

I do too but they made the choice to start drugs.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Jaime - WE can't help them. They have to help themselves. 1 - Don't start using drugs 2 - get treatment and seek help if you do start I will NEVER understand why people start abusing drugs to begin with.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

I really wish we still had a society that took responsibility for what they do.

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

it would be great if we could help them before they qualify for prison.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Yep Stand Your Ground is unnecessary and racist....NOT! If you have desperate armed criminals threatening your life, do you really care what color they are?


Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

@A2DP: PA 309 says that if a person is anywhere he has a legal right to be, he has no duty to retreat if he believe he is threatened by criminal attack. Note that this differs from the home/business situation where it is presumed that he believes he is subject to criminal attack. – NO duty to retreat. Not being hostile, just pointing out that many, including myself, should check their facts before posting comments. :-) Wish I had more time but don't - will only add that the whole "issue" of Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws is false. These two laws were specifically made (in all states which have them) to redress wrongs perpetrated under previous laws. Related to Public Act 309 are: PA 311, PA310, PA313, PA 313 and PA 312 (according to legal authorities). Michigan (and many other states, including FLA) has done a diligent job of clarifying (at least for judges & lawyers) what defenders' rights and limitations are. It's just not easy for us laymen to find, read, understand and then decide. The "critics" demanding repeal or rolling back to what was are incorrect because these laws can be amended (aka, made more clear and rational). Ricebrnr's right: none of these laws mentions or advises on the basis of race. The few individuals who do try to use these laws to commit racist crimes are every bit as criminal as any other kind.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

Here, here!


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Bob - In this country you can protect your life in any business, park, home, car or tent, etc...


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

I would rather be fired than dead. It's also my understanding that Michigan does not have the exact same stand your ground laws that many have been made aware of in Florida. I believe here you are required to make an attempt at escaping/retreating. As if turning your back to a threat is a wise decision.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Bob, 1) Correct Stand Your Ground does not apply the criminal 2) Correct the workers are subject to whatever restrictions their employers set as a condition of their employment. On the flip side, dead workers don't need to worry about their employment either.. 3) Stand your ground (with a firearm) WOULD apply to any customers in such venues that don't also prohibit them...

Basic Bob

Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

since he entered the stores, stand your ground does not apply. of course anyone protecting their castle at work will be fired if they live.