Trial of accused child stabber heads to jury
A Brooklyn Supreme Court jury began deliberations on Monday in the trial of a 30-year-old man accused of stabbing one young child to death and leaving another with a body full of stab wounds in a public housing elevator.
Daniel St. Hubert’s fate is now in the jury’s hands after two weeks of testimony that brought experts, alleged eye witnesses and 11-year-old Mikayla Capers, the girl who survived the attack.
The jury will have to decide if St. Hubert is guilty of second-degree murder, attempted murder or assault and weapon possession for the June 1, 2014 stabbing.
When Capers, then 7, and her best friend P.J. Avitto, 6, entered the elevator of Avitto’s building at East New York’s Boulevard Houses, St. Hubert allegedly followed behind, according to testimony.
Capers recollected in her testimony that St. Hubert told the kids to shut up and then started “repeatedly stabbing” them.
He allegedly stabbed Avitto 11 times with a steak knife, causing him to bleed to death in the elevator, and stabbed Capers 16 times before he ran off.
Eye witnesses testified in the trial they saw him running away and dropping something. The murder weapon covered in the children’s blood and his DNA was later found near the area St. Hubert allegedly fell.
St. Hubert was arrested four days later but, nearly four years after the incident, Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice reminded jurors that the issue at hand is whether St. Hubert was properly identified as the killer.
Attorney Howard Greenberg says he was not.
Greenberg has repeatedly called his client a “patsy” in the crime, citing lack of evidence.
A detective on the scene testified that out of at least 37 fingerprints lifted from around the elevator, none matched to St. Hubert. And when his property was collected from the homeless shelter he was living in, none of it had any blood on it. There was however, a knife set found matching the murder weapon with three knives missing from it.
Eye witnesses who identified St. Hubert fleeing the scene also gave contradicting testimony about his clothing that day, one saying he was wearing a gray sweatshirt. Surveillance footage of him from earlier in the day showed him wearing a blue purple T-shirt and shorts.
And after two days of Capers testifying, the lawyers agreed that part of her statements were false. Her in-court identification of St. Hubert was based on her saying police asked her to identify a picture of the killer while she was in the hospital. There was no such identification.
Before the judge began charging, Juror number three was dismissed and replaced by an alternate juror because he had to attend a funeral service. The three remaining alternates were placed on phone alert to come back to court if needed.
St. Hubert did not testify on his behalf. He faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.
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