‘Brooklyn Butcher’ Sentencing Postponed a Week

January 13, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Colleen Long

Associated Press


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JAY STREET (AP) — A sentencing for a man who pleaded guilty to a murderous citywide rampage that included stabbings, carjacking and other crimes was postponed this week in Brooklyn, but the brother of one of his victims asked the judge for the maximum prison term for him.


Maksim Gelman pleaded guilty last month to murder and other charges in the February 2011 spree, which authorities say involved stabbing his stepfather and two acquaintances to death, fatally running down a pedestrian and attacking a subway rider. No plea deal was offered.


Gelman’s sentencing, now scheduled for Jan. 18, was delayed in part because a psychological examination hadn’t been completed. A defense attorney said Gelman, who faces 100 years in prison, was refusing the exam.


The two-day crime spree, which authorities say started in Brooklyn and ended in Manhattan, was touched off when Gelman asked to borrow his mother’s car and his stepfather refused. The “Brooklyn Butcher” then stabbed his stepfather to death and then took off in the car. He later got out of the car and stabbed several other people before getting back in the car and rear-ending another car and stealing it.


Among the victims was Stephen Tanenbaum, a 62-year-old pedestrian who was struck in Brooklyn and died from his injuries. His brother, Mitch Tanenbaum, flew in from Colorado to give a statement Wednesday. He spoke calmly about his brother, who was single and had no children, saying he was an important part of his life and is missed at family gatherings.


“The death of my brother was obviously a very unexpected thing,” he said.


He added that members of his family generally live long lives and his dad lived until 89.


“There’s an incredible amount of sadness over losing him (Stephen Tanenbaum) in such a senseless way,” he said, as a woman wept quietly in the courtroom.


Gelman, 24, had initially told police, according to authorities, that he would beat the rap by spending time in a mental health institution and then getting out. But after doctors said he wouldn’t be able to argue he wasn’t guilty by reason of insanity, he decided to plead guilty so he could get out of his holding cell and start serving time in a more permanent facility.


Gelman did not speak at the brief hearing Wednesday, but he glanced back at Tanenbaum.


Most of the attacks happened in Brooklyn, but Gelman was captured the next day on a Manhattan subway train, where passengers recognized him from newspaper photographs and notified police, authorities said. Gelman dashed across the tracks, switched trains and attacked a passenger before he was grabbed by police officers who were in the subway car looking for him, authorities said. The Manhattan case is pending.

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