Entries in Arraignment (9)


Suspected NYC Subway Pusher Arraigned on Murder Charges

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Manhattan, N.Y., judge denied bail late Wednesday to a man charged with shoving a Korean immigrant onto subway tracks where he was killed by an oncoming train.

Assistant District Attorney James Lin told the court that defendant Naeem Davis, 30, of Queens, N.Y., "has admitted to lifting [the victim] off his feet and pushing off the wall behind him to add more force."

Lin said that victim Ki-Suck Han, 58, had been described by witnesses as "rolling over a few times like a bowling ball'' before being struck by a train as it pulled into a crowded Manhattan subway station Tuesday afternoon.

Davis appeared in court Wednesday around 11 p.m. with a shaved head and a goatee.  He had been charged earlier Wednesday with one count of second degree murder and one count of second degree murder with depraved indifference.  

Davis' attorney, Stephen Pokart, told the court that two out of three witnesses failed to pick Davis out of a series of lineups Wednesday morning.  He added that Han may have been intoxicated, and suggested that the fatal push may have been an act of self-defense.

Pokart cited a news account which quoted Han's wife as saying that her husband "left home drunk and angry" following an argument.

He added, "I want to know how drunk and how angry Mr. Han was."

"What was Mr. Han doing to my client?" Pokart asked.

Davis could be heard arguing with Han before the fatal shove, according to surveillance video from the station.  Davis told police that Han was harassing him and would not leave him alone, so he pushed Han.

Police are also awaiting toxicology results on Han, who was found with an empty pint bottle of vodka on him when he died, according to sources.

"Our family is grieving now, but we want to thank everyone who has reached out to us and offered their help.  We are suffering in sorrow but we have the support of our family, friends and church to help us through this time," Ashley Han, the victim's daughter, said in court.

Davis was ordered held without bail pending a second court appearance on Dec. 11, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Lynn Kottler said in court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


LA Arson Suspect Charged with 37 Counts; Bail Set at $2.85 Million

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The man accused of igniting dozens of fires across Los Angeles during a four-day rampage over New Year's weekend now faces 37 counts of arson and is being held on nearly $3 million bail.

Harry Burkhart was charged with 28 counts of arson of property and nine counts of arson of an inhabited structure Wednesday night when he appeared at a Los Angeles courthouse to be arraigned, according to District Attorney Steve Cooley.  The 24-year-old German national had bail set at $2.85 million.

The charges also allege that an incendiary device designed to accelerate the fire was placed under the engine area of cars.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra ultimately decided to postpone Burkhart's arraignment until Jan. 24, after a delay was requested by the suspect's public defender.  More charges could be filed at that date.

Prosecutors alleged that Burkhart was "motivated by his rage against Americans" when he set a series of 52 blazes in the Los Angeles area, primarily in Hollywood and the Sherman Oaks neighborhoods.  

Sources told ABC News Burkhart may have been motivated by his anger at U.S. immigration authorities that stemmed from a deportation hearing involving his mother, Dorothee, that took place in Los Angeles County about a week and a half ago.

At the hearing, Burkhart broke into a tirade, spewing angry anti-American statements before being escorted from the courtroom by U.S. Marshalls, officials told ABC News.  Officials said he shouted "F... the United States" during the Dec. 29 hearing, one day before he disappeared and the fires in Hollywood began.

According to a redacted criminal complaint that was unsealed Wednesday, Burkhart's mother was facing extradition because she pilfered rent security deposits and had skipped out on paying for a breast augmentation surgery.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chilling Details Emerge in Lauren Astley's Killing

Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WAYLAND, Mass.) -- Newly revealed text messages between the one-time high school sweethearts in Massachusetts whose breakup ended in murder indicate that Nathaniel Fujita tried to reconcile with Lauren Astley before he allegedly killed her.

Eighteen-year-old Fujita was reportedly distraught after Astley ended their three-year relationship last April, sending her a letter pleading, "I truly think there's part of you that still loves me, you just have to let me find it."

Astley, also 18, whose body was found July 4 in a swamp near the couple's hometown of Wayland, Mass., responded with a series of text messages trying to set up a time to talk.

"In an act of friendship, Lauren Astley reached out to the defendant," prosecutor Lisa McGovern said Tuesday at the Middlesex Superior Court arraignment where the new details emerged. "He reciprocated this act of friendship by killing her."

Fujita pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the charge of first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail until Sept. 22, when his defense attorney plans to push for his release on bail. Fujita, in custody since his arrest in July, also pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and a single count of assault and battery.

Prosecutors, who say Fujita brutally beat and strangled his former sweetheart with a bungee cord, have presented the murder as a case of alleged teen dating violence.

Astley's friends told police he had an "on-again, off-again" relationship with Astley after she broke up with him in April. They also said Fujita had been less social and also seemed angrier for the past several weeks.

Tuesday's arraignment also painted a more detailed portrait of Fujita's alleged actions after the crime.

When Astley didn't return home from her job at a clothing boutique the night of July 3, it was her father who filed a missing person's report with the Wayland Police Department. Police questioned Fujita shortly afterward. He said Astley had visited their home around 7:45 p.m. then left after they spoke briefly while she remained in her car.

Police later searched Fujita's home, where he lives with his parents. They found blood in the garage and on an exterior door handle, and traces of blood on the kitchen floor, kitchen sink and bathroom sink.

They found a pair of blood-spattered sneakers in an attic crawlspace above Fujita's room.

Police also discovered a plastic garbage bag filled with bloody water-logged clothing, including a sweatshirt with pockets containing dirt similar to that of the marshland where Astley's body had been found.

Fujita had been planning to attend Trinity College in Connecticut this fall.

Astley, who also recently graduated from Wayland High School, had been accepted to Elon University in North Carolina. Her father told the Boston Globe that Astley was their only child, and said she was a former captain of the high school tennis team who sang in her school's a capella group and wanted to work in the fashion industry.

Fujita doesn't have a previous criminal record, and there is no indication that Fujita had abused Astley while they were dating, dstrict attorney spokeswoman Jessica Venezia Pastore said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Trial Date Set for Accused Fort Hood Shooter

Ben Sklar/Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged with the deadly November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, has been set to begin on March 5.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder for the shootings that left 13 dead and 32 others wounded.  The 40-year-old, who was wounded and partially paralyzed during the rampage, sat in a wheelchair Wednesday while he was arraigned and calmly told a military judge he understood the charges against him.

A military jury of 12 officers above Hasan’s rank will hear testimony in the case.  In order to obtain a conviction, two-thirds of the panel must agree he is guilty.  

Hasan faces the possibility of a death sentence if convicted of premeditated murder.  The same panel will decide his fate, but in the penalty phase of the trial, a unanimous vote is needed for the death sentence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dominique Strauss-Kahn to Be Arraigned on Sexual Assault Charges

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty ImagesUPDATE: Dominique Strauss-Kahn entered a plea of “not guilty” Monday to multiple charges of allegedly sexually assaulting a hotel room maid at a posh Manhattan hotel last month.

(NEW YORK) -- The former head of the International Monetary Fund, who is accused of sexually assaulting a maid last month in his New York City hotel suite, will be back in court Monday to be arraigned.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected to plead not guilty to the charges stemming from the May 14 incident at the Sofitel Hotel. The 62-year-old faces seven counts, including attempted rape, criminal sexual assault, and unlawful imprisonment.

His lawyers appear to be preparing to defend him by asserting the sex was consensual and by seeking to discredit the accuser, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea.  The defense team has also hired private detectives to scrutinize the woman's story and her past.

Just the same, the maid's head lawyer has hired two high-powered attorneys to repel any assault on her reputation and credibility.

Strauss-Kahn has been awaiting the court appearance in a luxury townhouse in lower Manhattan where he's under house arrest.  He was released from jail on May 20 on $1 million bail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arraignment For Texas Terror Suspect

Lubbock County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images(LUBBOCK, Texas) -- The man accused of buying chemicals and equipment to build a weapon of mass destruction makes another court appearance Monday.

Federal investigators say Khalid Aldawsari had picked out several locations around the country, including the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, targeting them for destruction. 

The 20-year-old landed on the FBI's radar when the company from which he was trying to buy a crucial bomb ingredient contacted the feds. Aldawsari faces a maximum life prison term and a quarter-million-dollar fine if he's convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Charged with Killing Four in Stabbing Spree Appears in Court

Photo Courtesy - New York Police Dept./WABC-TV New York(NEW YORK) -- The New York man accused of going on a 28-hour stabbing spree that killed four people and left four others badly injured was back in a Brooklyn courtroom Monday to be assigned a new attorney.

On Sunday, Maksim Gelman, 23, was arraigned on charges of murder and assault for the fatal stabbing of four people and the assault of four others.  When being led from the police precinct to the courthouse, Gelman showed no remorse, saying that he had been "set up."

Gelman began his bloody rampage Friday morning after arguing with his mother over his use of her Lexus.  When his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, intervened in the argument, Gelman allegedly stabbed him to death in his family's Brooklyn apartment, police said.

Gelman then went to the home of a female acquaintance, Yelena Bulchenko, where he stabbed her mother to death, police said.  He allegedly hid in the home, waiting for Bulchenko to return to find her mother's dead body.  When Bulchenko called 911, he chased her out of her home, stabbing her 11 times, police said.

Gelman's spree continued.  He rear-ended a car and then slashed the chest of the driver three times, police said.  Gelman took the man's car and ran over a pedestrian, 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, police said.  Tenenbaum died from his injuries.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Gelman allegedly stabbed a livery cab driver and attacked a couple driving a Nissan.  He stabbed the driver in his hands, hijacking the car, police said.

Gelman boarded a downtown bound subway train when a woman recognized him and alerted authorities.  He had crack cocaine with him at the time of his arrest, police said.

"What's so horrendous and bizarre, we have no reason that we can give you as to why he did this," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference over the weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Family of Carlina White's Kidnapper Asks for 'Compassion'

Carlina White pictured with her daughter. Photo Courtesy - Family of Carlina White(NEW YORK) -- The family of Ann Pettway, the woman who confessed to kidnapping Carlina White 23 years ago, has asked for compassion following Pettway's arraignment.

"We say listen, the Whites, we're sorry this happened, but at the same time too, have some compassion for our relative," Brian Pettway, a cousin of Ann Pettway, said.

Pettway, 49, was arraigned on one federal kidnapping charge in Manhattan federal court Monday.  She is being held without bail.  Pettway told officials that she is "truly sorry," according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.

Carlina White's biological father, Carl Tyson, doesn't believe that Pettway is sorry.

"She took [Carlina] for 23 years.  Let her get the same amount of time," Carl Tyson told the New York Post.

If convicted, Pettway faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Pettway confessed to the FBI that she kidnapped Carlina White on Aug. 4, 1987 from Harlem Hospital after enduring several miscarriages.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Alleged Tucson Shooter Jared Lee Loughner to Be Arraigned

Photo Courtesy - Pima County Sheriff's Department(PHOENIX) -- Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of shooting Arizona Congresswoman Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others over two weeks ago, is expected to be arraigned in Phoenix Monday.

Loughner is charged with only three federal counts of attempted murder but will ultimately face murder charges, as well, and possibly the death penalty -- murder charges take longer to process because of the death penalty component.

At the federal courthouse in Phoenix Monday, Loughner will hear the charges against him and be asked to enter a plea.  It's unknown whether or not he'll try to plead insanity.

The judge presiding over Loughner's arraignment was flown in from San Diego after every federal judge in Arizona refused to hear the case.

On Jan. 8, Loughner allegedly opened fire at the Democratic Congresswoman's event outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, killing six people and wounding 14 others.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio