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Stabbing Suspect Arraigned

Mount Vernon Argus

Gannett Suburban Newspapers

Wednesday, October 26, 1994

By Will David

A Mount Vernon High School student charged in the stabbing death of another student acted in self-defense, his lawyer said yesterday.

Queens lawyer Todd Greenberg said [Defendant], 17, feared for his life when [Deceased], 17, was stabbed in a school hallway on Monday morning because moments before he had been attacked by five students – at least one armed with a knife.

“My client is innocent,” Greenberg told Mount Vernon City Judge Barbara Gunther-Zambelli yesterday during [Defendant’s] arraignment on one count of second-degree murder. “He has a very viable defense in this case.”

Meanwhile, at the high school, the emotional aftermath of [Deceased’s] death was played out in counseling sessions throughout the school and in a protest staged by some 200 students at the Education Center.

[Defendant] had knife wounds over his right eye and on his left hand as he stood before the judge.

“He was attacked by other people who had knives,” Greenberg said after the arraignment. “He felt in danger for his life when he acted.”

According to police, five people started beating [Defendant] in the hallway of the 100 California Road school between periods shortly after 9 a.m. One person stabbed him over the eye with an 8-inch knife and tried to do it again when [Defendant] wrestled the weapon away. All five then retreated.

[Defendant] is accused of grabbing [Deceased] and stabbing him, police said. [Deceased] died in the hospital.

Greenberg called on police to arrest those who set upon [Defendant].

Detective Capt. Michael Mosca said police and Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro had not yet decided whether to do that. Police have identified and questioned members of the group, Mosca said.

“We are not read to charge anybody else,” Mosca said.

“This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing, “Mosca added. “The plan was to jump the [Defendant] kid in the hall. I still don’t know who had the knife that cut [Defendant].”

Detectives are not sure if [Defendant] was supposed to be stabbed, Mosca said.

Police also do not know if [Deceased] was among the attackers, Mosca said.

The case will go before a grand jury, Pirro said. The grand jury will look into the homicide of [Deceased] and the circumstances surrounding the attack on [Defendant].

“My job is to make sure that justice is done and that the innocent is not convicted and the guilty is convicted,” Pirro said.

During the court hearing, Judge Gunther-Zambelli granted a request by Greenberg and ordered [Defendant] placed in protective custody at the Westchester County Jail, where he was being held without bail.