A Grand Forks man who allegedly tried to stab a woman to death last fall because she “was a witch” will be allowed to leave the correctional center to seek inpatient mental health treatment at a secure facility.
Akmal Rashidovich Azizov, 21, was granted a bond reduction on Wednesday, July 17, that will restrict him to staying at the Red River Behavioral Health Center for treatment. Grand Forks County District Judge Donald Hager said Azizov will be required to wear a GPS tracking device so his location can be monitored. He will be transported to the facility by deputies and is not allowed to leave.
According to an affidavit for his arrest, Azizov tried to stab a woman he knew outside her apartment on Sept. 5. He later told investigators he’d stalked and plotted to kill the woman for weeks because she “was a witch and he needed to slay her,” an affidavit said.
He reportedly smashed in a window of the woman’s car on Sept. 5 in an attempt to get her attention and lure her from her apartment. When she later came outside, the court document said Azizov attacked her from behind with an antique silver pocket knife he’d purchased from the online retailer Etsy. Investigators said he slashed at her throat several times, but wasn’t getting the result he expected.
The woman broke free and ran to a neighbor’s apartment for help as she waited for police, the affidavit said. She suffered several non-life threatening injuries.
Officers reported Azizov approached them when they arrived on scene and told them he was responsible.
Azizov was initially held without bond because of the seriousness of the allegations and concern for the safety of the victim and community. He allegedly told officers he would try to kill the victim again if he was released.
Azizov’s bond was later dropped to $500,000 and Hager ruled Wednesday he would be allowed to seek inpatient treatment at Red River Behavioral Health Center. Azizov’s attorney, Theodore Sandberg, said the hearing was scheduled as an emergency because there was a significant deterioration of his client’s mental state during the past few days.
An evidentiary hearing was held last month on a motion filed by Sandberg that claimed Azizov’s rights were violated in jail. He said Azizov suffers from schizophrenia and was interviewed in jail without counsel when he was clearly mentally unstable.
There is not yet a decision on the motion.
Azizov is facing charges of attempted murder, terrorizing, criminal mischief and stalking. He could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder, the most serious of the charges.