Kidnapper involved in Columbus imam’s abduction handed a minimum of 26 years for fatal failed heist

Columbus’ Somali and Muslim communities filled a Franklin County courtroom on Tuesday for the sentencing of a man found guilty of kidnapping Imam Mohamed Hassan Adam during a fatal robbery attempt in 2021.

Isaiah Brown-Miller, a 24-year-old resident of Columbus’ North East Side, received a sentence of 26 to 31 years in prison from Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Phipps for his involvement in kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

Brown-Miller’s conviction came in January after a Franklin County jury reached a unanimous decision, following two previous trials where juries failed to reach a verdict.

Over 300 individuals submitted victim impact statements to the judge, underscoring the loss of Adam, the respected imam of Masjid Abu Hurairah mosque. Described as a compassionate leader who tirelessly served the community, regardless of background, Adam’s death had reverberations locally and internationally.

While Adam’s family asserted that Brown-Miller was complicit in the murder, he was not charged with this offense. Another defendant, John Wooden, aged 47 and from Columbus’ Franklinton neighborhood, faced charges including aggravated murder, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery in connection with Adam’s death.

“Mr. Brown-Miller participated,” said Abdi Sofi, a longtime friend and relative of Adam. “Adam was an esteemed member of the community, held captive and ultimately killed, his body abandoned in a junkyard.”

Brown-Miller intends to appeal his conviction, with his defense attorney Lumumba Toure McCord disputing the jury’s decision.

Wooden, awaiting sentencing after dismissing his defense attorney in January, faces a potential life sentence for aggravated murder, with the possibility of parole after at least 20 years.

During sentencing, Phipps considered Brown-Miller’s criminal history, including a prior felony charge at age 14, and his probation status at the time of the offense.

Apologizing for the delay, Phipps expressed sympathy to Adam’s family, hoping for closure in their eventual healing.

Adam’s daughter, Shukri Hassan, anticipates justice following Wooden’s sentencing.

During the proceedings, Hassan reflected on her father’s escape from Somalia’s civil unrest, only to meet a tragic end in a country he believed to be safe.

Adam was reported missing on December 22, 2021, and found fatally shot near his yellow van on December 24, 2021, in an overgrown lot in Columbus’ North Side.

Prosecutors alleged that Wooden and Brown-Miller sought money from Adam, potentially from the mosque’s funds he managed.

Surveillance footage showed Adam attempting ATM withdrawals on December 22, 2021, accompanied by a masked individual. Prosecutors also highlighted failed Cash App transactions from Adam’s cellphone that night, some totaling thousands of dollars.

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