Hamad’s new lawyer defended Ohioan sentenced for attempted terrorist plot
By Ed Runyan
A filing with the 11th District Court of Appeals that will outline the reasons Nasser Hamad thinks his convictions and sentence should be overturned in the killing of two people and injuring of three others will be delayed by a month by the hiring of a new, high-profile defense lawyer.
Hamad, 49, has hired Columbus attorney Sam Shamansky, whom the Columbus Dispatch calls one of the most prominent defense attorneys in the Columbus area.
Hamad was sentenced to 36 years-to-life in prison in November after being convicted of shooting five people Feb. 25, 2017, outside his house on state Route 46 in Howland after a months-long dispute with his girlfriend’s family.
Hamad is serving his sentence in Ohio’s Pickaway Correctional Institution near Columbus and is being treated for terminal cancer.
Shamansky on Monday asked for an additional 30 days to file the appeal, and a magistrate approved the extension to Aug. 24. The filing was originally due today.
Among the high-profile clients Shamansky has defended is Abdirahman S. Mohamud, 26, who was sentenced in January in Columbus federal court to 22 years in prison for plotting to kill U.S. military members at a military base in Texas after receiving military training in Syria.
Mohamud, who trained with al-Nusrah Front, a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaida, is among unpopular clients Shamansky has defended, according to the Dispatch.
The Somali-born Mohamud came to the United States at age 2 and grew up in the Columbus area. His older brother was killed in June 2014 while fighting for the al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra, NBCnews.com reported.
When asked about defending people such as Mohamud, Shamansky said: “My job is to represent people to the best of my ability. I don’t pick and choose based on public perception. If someone wants to hire me, I’m in,” he said.
Shamansky also represented Todd L. Smith, a former Columbus school resource officer sentenced in 2014 to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to luring two 15-year-old Centennial High School students into sexual relationships.
Alan Michaels, the dean of Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, told the Dispatch that Shamansky has a quality of fearlessness that serves him well as a defense attorney.
“Sam is not concerned about what people are going to say or think about what he does,” Michaels said. “That’s an important attribute for a defense attorney, who sometimes has to represent people who are unpopular.”
A call to Shamansky’s office were not returned, but Hamad’s brother, Mike Hamad, said the Hamad family selected Shamansky based on recommendations from other people and interviews with a few choices.
“He seemed like he was sincere” and would spend the necessary time to handle the appeal effectively, Mike Hamad said. He did not Google Shamansky and did not know about Shamansky’s representation of Mohamud, Mike Hamad said.
One of his biggest hopes is that Shamansky will bring out facts that his brother’s trial attorneys did not.
One is the statement of a woman who witnesssed the early stages of the confrontation and called 911. She told a dispatcher that the young men who went to Hamad’s house that day were “beating the [deleted] out of” Hamad, who would later go in his house and get his gun.
Mike Hamad noted that the woman toned down her words when she testified at the trial, saying only that she saw “what appeared to be young kids beating someone up.”