Closing statements begin in accused child stabber’s murder trial
Closing statements began on Thursday in the Brooklyn Supreme Court murder trial of a man accused of stabbing two children 27 times, leaving one to die in an East New York public housing elevator.
Roughly two weeks ago, Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Connor painted jurors the picture of a warm summer day of play for then-7-year-old Mikayla Capers and her best friend, P.J. Avitto, 6. When the two decided to go upstairs to get “icees” at Avitto’s Boulevard Houses home on June 1, 2014, they were allegedly followed by Daniel St. Hubert, accused of meeting them in the elevator with a steak knife.
“He proceeded to take that knife and hack those little children to pieces,” O’Connor told jurors during the trial’s opening arguments.
What ties St. Hubert, 30, to the crime, prosecutors allege, was his DNA on the bloody knife that was found after he allegedly dropped it while fleeing the scene.
But after testimony, including from Capers, now 11, and witnesses who say they saw St. Hubert fleeing, defense attorney Howard Greenberg picked through the evidence in a nearly two-hour summation.
He began by discrediting Capers’ testimony, who prosecutors agreed gave false statements that police asked her to identify St. Hubert while she was hospitalized. In fact, prosecutors said Capers had never identified the killer since the beginning of the case.
“Mikayla Capers, sad to say, is delusional,” Greenberg told jurors. “So stand your ground.”
Greenberg also attacked the DNA on the knife as “flimsy DNA evidence” when a forensic expert testified there was a mixture of at least two people on the knife.
After at least 37 fingerprints taken from around the elevator — where there were no surveillance cameras — none matched to St. Hubert, according to trial testimony.
Greenberg also reminded jurors that once St. Hubert was arrested on June 4, 2014, there was no blood found on any of more than two dozen of his belongings. Those included clothing he was seen wearing in surveillance footage by his home from the day of the crime.
While he was seen wearing a blue-purple shirt in the footage, witnesses of him fleeing the Boulevard Houses gave conflicting accounts of his clothing, including a gray sweater.
“In this profoundly disturbing case … the defendant is just a patsy. The truth will not be silenced,” Greenberg said.
Of the items found in the homeless shelter St. Hubert was living in, there was a knife set missing three knives that matched the model of the murder weapon, prosecutors said.
St. Hubert is charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and weapon possession, facing up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors were slated to deliver summations Thursday afternoon.
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