East New York

Stab victim, 11, testifies in suspect’s trial

Defense attorney attacks girl’s credibility

March 20, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Daniel St. Hubert is on trial for murder and other charges at Brooklyn Supreme Court for allegedly stabbing to death a child and injuring another in a public housing elevator. Eagle file photo by Paul Frangipane

Nearly four years after 11-year-old Mikayla Capers was stabbed 16 times in an elevator of her East New York public housing complex, she took the stand at Brooklyn Supreme Court in the trial of her accused attacker on Tuesday.

Capers sat before a completely packed courtroom, remaining seated as she was sworn in. In her raised right hand, she gripped the bent Pokemon card that was in her best friend, P.J. Avitto’s pocket when he was stabbed to death next to her on June 1, 2014.

With 30-year-old Daniel St. Hubert’s attorney, Howard Greenberg previously labeling Capers a “pathological liar,” the issue of trustworthiness was front and center during her testimony.

“Do you know what it means to tell a lie?” Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Connor asked Capers.

“Yes,” Capers responded. “When you lie you can get in trouble.”

In a blue dress and sweater, Capers recollected the summer day at the Boulevard Houses when she, then 7, and 6-year-old Avitto went into Avitto’s building to get icees.

“We went straight to the elevator,” Capers said, adding that a “mysterious man” was inside the building.

Capers then pointed out the rosary-adorned St. Hubert in court as the man who attacked her and Avitto.

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“We got in the elevator. He caught the door,” Capers said before sitting in silence.

“He told us to shut up. I felt anxious. He started repeatedly stabbing us.”

Family members in the audience sobbed while Capers sniffled into the microphone.

The 6th grader then said Avitto looked “dead,” when St. Hubert allegedly fled the scene.

“His eyes were wide open and there was a bunch of blood on the floor,” Capers said.

Capers survived after treatment from Brookdale Hospital and New York Presbyterian.

During O’Connor’s questioning, the little girl also said she was stabbed 18 times and Avitto was stabbed 17 times, despite prior testimony showing they were each stabbed 16 and 11 times respectively.

When given the chance, Greenberg asked Capers twice to recollect again what had happened.

Eventually, the girl admitted the “mysterious man” was staring at her and Avitto with his hand behind his back when they entered the building.

“I forgot about that,” Capers said slouched over with her hand on her face.

While Capers was released from the hospital 9 days after the incident, she told O’Connor she saw a picture of St. Hubert on the news from her hospital bed three or four weeks after.

“How would you see the mysterious man in the hospital four weeks later when you weren’t even in the hospital four weeks later?” Greenberg asked to prosecutors’ objections.

As Capers conceded she found out about the case from the news, one juror covered his face and shook his head.

“So you learned what you know about this case from watching the news?” asked Greenberg.

“Yes,” Capers said. “And I remembered how he looked when he did this.”

“Oh, did these prosecutors ever tell you to look at a picture of this man?”

“I don’t recall,” Capers said.

“How does this guy sleep at night?” one of Capers’ supporters whispered in the audience.

Prosecutors previously said that Capers hadn’t seen a photo of St. Hubert before and might not have recognized him.

St. Hubert was arrested four days after the incident when witnesses who saw him flee identified him in lineups. Police also found his DNA on a bloody knife that he allegedly dropped in the area.

Greenberg argues that St. Hubert was never there that day, supported by there being no blood on his clothes and none of his fingerprints being found on the scene.

Charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and weapon possession, he faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

Capers’ testimony was expected to continue Tuesday afternoon before Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice.

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