Amor Ftouhi

Photo: U.S. Department of Justice

Accused Flint Airport Stabber Turns Down Plea Deal

October 27, 2018 - 12:34 pm

FLINT (WWJ/AP) - A man charged with terrorism in the stabbing of a Michigan airport police officer says he's not interested in a plea deal and will go to trial on Nov. 6.

Amor Ftouhi says he's innocent. He made the remark Thursday during a final pre-trial hearing in federal court in Flint.

A judge had ordered marshals to use a "minimum amount of force" if necessary to bring Ftouhi to court Thursday. But it apparently wasn't necessary. He had refused to leave his cell to attend a previous hearing.

Ftouhi, a native of Tunisia who lives in Montreal, is charged with committing an act of violence at an airport, interfering with security and committing an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries.  He's accused of stabbing Lt. Jeff Neville while yelling "Allahu Akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great." Neville survived.

The government alleges that Ftouhi entered the U.S. legally via New York on June 16, 2017 -- five days before the attack. He then traveled to Michigan where authorities said he tried to buy a gun, but failed. Instead, the FBI said he purchased a 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade and made his way to Bishop International Airport in Flint.

Ftouhi left his baggage in the restroom, then allegedly stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck. As the attack went on, the FBI says Ftouhi continued to exclaim "Allah" and referenced killings in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — adding something to the effect of "you are all going to die." He was taken down by police and arrested at the scene.

After his arrest, Ftouhi allegedly told law enforcement that he was a “soldier of Allah” and subscribed to the ideology of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

He faces life in prison if convicted as charged.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.