Michael Foster Sentenced to life in Prison for Murder

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CLEVELAND- Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announced Michael Foster was sentenced to 53 years to life in prison for the 2001 murder of Anwar Hamed and four other robberies committed in 2001.

In the early morning hours of August 3, 2001, Foster, 44, of Cleveland, shot Anwar Hamed (a.k.a Todd Hamed), of Westlake, during a robbery of Miles Eagle Supermarket located at 12900 Miles Avenue. Hamed was paralyzed as a result of the shooting. Hamed was married and a father to three children when he was shot and paralyzed; his youngest daughter was 11-months-old. After shooting the victim, Foster stole money from the cash register and the victim's credit cards. On November 13, 2002, Foster pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated murder, felonious assault, all with firearm specifications, and having a weapon while under disability. His guilty plea included the shooting of Hamed and four other robberies. Foster was sentenced to 83 years on November 15, 2002.

The State appeals court denied Foster's attempts to withdraw his guilty pleas after he was sentenced. In November of 2007, a federal judge vacated Foster's guilty pleas based on Foster's claim that he pleaded guilty under duress to get out of Cuyahoga County jail; Foster claimed that he was being abused by inmates and correction officers. Foster also filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff and several jail supervisors making the same claims. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Civil Division represented the Sheriff and the jail supervisors in the civil lawsuit. In February 2009, after a two week trial in U.S. District Court, a jury rejected Foster's claims.

In March of 2007, Hamed died as a result of respiratory failure attributed to his gunshot injuries. In August of 2008, Foster was indicted for the murder in 2001. A bullet removed from the body of Anwar Hamed at the time of the autopsy in 2007 was subsequently linked to one of the two .38 caliber revolvers that Foster had in his possession when he was arrested on September 13th, 2001, after committing another armed robbery of a beverage store. Also found in Foster's car and hotel room at the time of his arrest were handcuffs, wigs, and other items related to a string of Cleveland armed robberies.

On March 19, 2010, after a two week trial on the murder charges, a jury returned guilty verdicts against Michael Foster in Judge Brendan Sheehan's courtroom. Michael Foster was found guilty of murder with firearm specifications, two counts of aggravated robbery, with notice of prior conviction and repeat violent offender specifications, receiving stolen property, and having weapons while under disability.

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