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Franklinton man charged in homicide of local imam, Muslim and Somali leader

Friday February 25, 2022

Columbus police have arrested a man they say is responsible for the December killing of a local Muslim imam and pillar of the Somali community.

John Wooden Jr., 46, of Franklinton, has been charged with murder in connection with the Dec. 24 death of 48-year-old Mohamed Hassan Adam, according to Franklin County court records.

Adam was found dead inside a van behind a chain link fence on the 1400 block of Windsor Avenue on the city's North Side. An autopsy revealed he had been shot multiple times.

Adam, who was an imam at Masjid Abu Hurairah mosque on the city's Northeast Side, had last been seen on Dec. 22 when he left home to pick up his child from a day care center on Oakland Park Avenue.

He was a prominent member of the local Muslim and Somali communities.
Wooden has been in the Franklin County jail on a federal charge of weapons possession by a convicted felon since his arrest Feb. 18 outside the North Guilford Avenue home where he had been living.

Federal court records show Wooden had been released from federal prison in March 2021 after serving more than 10 years for a federal robbery conviction.

After Columbus police identified Wooden as a suspect in the homicide of Adam, a search warrant was executed at the home where he was living by a Columbus police SWAT team.
During that search, a shotgun was found in the basement area where Wooden was living, and a loaded handgun was found underneath a pair of women's underwear in a basket that was in the kitchen area, records state.

Wooden, who arrived at the home while the search warrant was being executed, was taken into custody without incident and has been held in the county jail on the federal charge since his arrest last week.

Columbus police are expected to release additional details Friday about the investigation that led to Wooden's arrest.

Adam was remembered by hundreds who gathered at his funeral. The case has drawn international attention and a $20,000 reward had been offered by the Ohio chapter Council on American-Islamic Relations for information leading to an arrest.

Several people within the Muslim and Somalian communities had reached out to The Dispatch expressing concerns over how Columbus police initially had handled the investigation into Adam's missing persons report.   

Prior coverage:Columbus police seek tips as they investigate homicide of imam Mohamed Hassan Adam

Police released a 15-second video clip in January of someone — not Adam — driving the van he was last seen in. At the time the video was released, Shukri Hassan, Adam's daughter, said her family couldn't begin to heal until someone was held accountable for her father's death.

"We need answers quickly," she said. "Every day that passes is another day that my father's murderer remains at large."

Columbus police said Friday that working in conjunction with the ATF on the Crime Gun Task Force helped identify Wooden as the suspected killer. 


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