By Charles Sercombe
Murder suspect Dione Andre Wade, 24, of Detroit, may have some weird-sinister mojo about him.
Wade is accused of the cold-blooded shooting of Rafiqul Islam last year after Islam had just parked his car in front of his Prescott St. house. The curious thing about this murder is that there was no apparent motive.
Nothing appeared to be stolen from Islam and there were no known feuds he was involved in. As it turned out, police say, Wade’s motive was based on a huge assumption, the kind of assumption that is as profoundly ignorant as it is heartless.
A Detroit police officer said Wade believed those of Arab descent were more likely to have large sums of money on them as opposed to African-Americans.
So, why did he select Islam on the evening of Feb. 3, 2009? Islam was a Bengali-American, and Bengalis are sometimes lumped in with the general ethnic group of Arabs because they have similar Muslim names and the darker skin of Arab-Americans.
To those who know Bengalis and Arabs, there is a world of difference in just a casual glance.
But still, why Islam on that particular night? Was Wade just roaming the streets for a chance encounter?
Police say they can only speculate. Wade denies he committed the crime, although according to a witness he admitted he was connected to the murder.
Strangely, if robbery was the motive, there is no evidence that Islam was indeed robbed. He had a small sum of money on his body, police say.
While waiting for Wade’s preliminary examination to begin last week in Hamtramck 31st District Court, police investigators talked among themselves about Wade. He has a known record of violent criminal activity.
And investigators believe his record so far is only the tip of a very troubled and dark iceberg. Hamtramck Detective Michael Szymanski said Detroit investigators say they are close to charging Wade with two unsolved Detroit homicides.
One Detroit investigator talking before Wade’s preliminary examination said Wade shot two teenagers in separate incidents and both times used his alleged victims’ cell phone to call their parents.
In one conversation he sort of apologized for the shooting, saying it wasn’t worth taking the teen’s life for just the $3 he found on his body. In another conversation, he told the victim’s mother she needs to come to the crime scene and collect her dead son.
Is any of it true?
No one knows for sure at this point, but there is talk of whether Wade is mentally competent to stand trial. In two previous instances it was determined that he was not competent to stand trial.
Yet in other criminal proceedings Wade was found to be sane.
To say the very least, Wade appears to have had some very strange encounters with victims, most particularly a pending case in which he took a Dearborn man hostage for several hours. Wade may turn out to be one of the more intriguing criminal suspects in modern Detroit history.