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Oklahoma City man avoids jail in attacks on mom, Douglass High School ex-principal

Elijah Salaam Mohammed, 32, received a deferred sentence after entering pleas in separate cases involving an Oklahoma City high school principal and Mohammed's mother.
by Tim Willert Published: March 25, 2013

The son of a former Douglass High School administrator accused in separate cases of attacking the school's principal and choking his mother has avoided jail after agreeing to plead no contest, court records show.

Elijah Salaam Mohammed, however, faces up to 24 years in prison if he runs afoul of the law over the next 10 years, according to a plea deal with prosecutors that produced a deferred sentence.

Mohammed, 32, of Oklahoma City, pleaded no contest to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the March 2, 2010, attack on former Douglass Principal Brian Staples.

Staples resigned in November, after the NAACP accused him of altering grades and attendance records, and an investigation followed.

Mohammed and two other men — Nathaniel Wheeler and Ryan Harper — were charged in the attack on Staples, who was assaulted in the school parking lot by a man he identified in a photo lineup as Harper, police said.

Harper pleaded no contest to the charges last month and received a five-year suspended sentence, with all but the first eight months suspended, records show.

Wheeler's case is still pending.

Mohammed said in court papers he believed the state had enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty at trial.

“We were happy with the arrangement,” said Irven Box, Mohammed's attorney.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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