January 11, 1994
By Blanca M. Quintanilla
The attorney for a teenager charged with brutally stabbing a 16-year-old boy to death in an Elmhurst teen hangout told a jury during closing arguments yesterday that his client was charged with a crime he did not commit.
Todd Greenberg, a Forest Hills attorney representing [Defendant], 17, also said that the victim, [Deceased], may have already been dead -- from a severe blow to the head -- before his client allegedly stabbed him.
"The stabbing was not the cause of death," Greenberg said in front of a crowded Jamaica courtroom. "What's the motive? Why would 17-year-old [Defendant], a Queens College student, want to murder [Deceased]?
Assistant District Attorney Debra Lynn Pomodore rejected Greenberg's theory. Telling the jury she did not need to prove a motive for the killing, she said [Defendant] "savagely" stabbed [Deceased] 18 times.
[Deceased], 16, of Maspeth, was found dead on Dec. 6, 1992 in the graffiti-scarred series of alleyways in Elmhurst teens call The Maze.
If convicted of murder, [Defendant] faces 25 years to life in prison.
Greenberg attacked the testimony of Dr. Aglae Charlot, the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on [Deceased], saying she failed to do a complete autopsy.
"The people's witnesses lack credibility," said Greenberg. He did not call one witness on behalf of his client, saying the people's case didn't merit a rebuttal.
He also blasted the three prosecution witnesses who said they saw [Defendant] stab [Deceased] repeatedly. He told the jury that members of a graffiti drawing group had pinned the murder on his client because he was not a member of the crew, did not have a "tag," and was the only outsider in a closely knit group.
Pomodore urged the jury to give [Defendant] a tag name.
"The only appropriate tag is murderer," she told the jury. She noted that [Defendant] first kicked [Deceased] to render him helpless.
Pomodore rejected any suggestion that [Deceased] was dead when he was stabbed.
"The only issue presented to you at this time is what is the identity of the person who stabbed [Deceased] to death on Dec. 6, 1992," Pomodore said.
The jury began deliberations last night.