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Final Arguments in Maze-Slay Case

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.