Maksim Gelman stabbing spree
|Maksim Gelman stabbing spree|
|Location||Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Date||February 11 – 12, 2011 |
c. 5:00 a.m. – c. 9:00 a.m. (EST)
|Killing spree, stabbing, carjacking, vehicular homicide, vehicle ramming attack|
The Maksim Gelman stabbing spree was a 28-hour killing spree lasting from February 11 to 12, 2011, in New York City, which involved the killing of four people and the wounding of five others. Maksim Gelman was arrested and pleaded guilty to the crimes.
Timeline of attacks
Just after 5:00 a.m. on February 11, 2011, Gelman stabbed and killed his stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn after an argument with his mother about driving Kuznetsov's vehicle. According to Gelman, he believed DEA agents were after him and planned to flee to the Dominican Republic. He claimed he woke his mother to find out where his passport was, and this developed into an argument as his mother believed he was drunk. Their argument awoke Kuznetsov, who came into the kitchen swearing at Gelman in Russian. Gelman grabbed a knife and stabbed Kuznetsov repeatedly. When the knife broke, Gelman continued the attack with a carving fork, ultimately stabbing Kuznetsov 55 times. His mother was not physically hurt. Gelman then took the vehicle and sped off in it, running over a crossing guard and breaking her leg.
Gelman later stated that since he knew he would be caught, he was going to take down "rats" who had wronged him. Gelman then went to the house of a female acquaintance named Yelena Bulchenko, where he killed her mother, Anna, at about 10:30 a.m. He then allegedly left the crime scene and waited several hours for Yelena, who had been staying at a friend's house, to return home. Once she did, she found Anna dead and called 9-1-1, but Gelman was on his way back to the scene to check if she returned home. Upon arrival at about 4:00 p.m., he spotted her outside on the phone and got out of the car, upon which she yelled at him. He hid the knife in his jacket sleeve and approached her, but she took off running. However, Gelman caught up with her and stabbed her eleven times, killing her, before speeding off in Kuznetsov's car. Ramming into another car, Gelman stabbed and wounded the driver, Arthur DiCrescento, three times when he confronted him, before carjacking the vehicle. Gelman later ran down 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who subsequently died of his injuries.
Afterwards, Gelman abandoned DiCrescento's car just before 1:00 a.m. of February 12 and hailed a livery cab before stabbing its driver, Fitz Fullerton. He then approached another car with a couple inside and attacked the driver, Shelden Pottinger, stabbing him multiple times in the hand. He then stole Pottinger's vehicle and drove off in it. After boarding a northbound 3 train at 34th Street - Penn Station just after 8:00 a.m., he stabbed Joseph Lozito, a ticket seller at Lincoln Center. By this time, passengers recognized him from a newspaper article about his killing spree and notified authorities.
According to initial report, Gelman started banging on the door of a motorman's cab, demanding to be let in, at which point two police officers assigned to the manhunt arrived and subdued him after a struggle with Lozito's help. According to a January 2012 New York Times story, Gelman knocked on the train conductor's booth and identified himself as a police officer; when the door failed to open, he lunged at Lozito, who countered and knocked Mr. Gelman to the floor; two police officers then leapt from the conductor's booth and arrested Gelman.
Later Lozito claimed that officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor "hid" in the motorman's cab while Lozito was engaging in a physical confrontation with Gelman and did not come out until he had disarmed Gelman and pinned him on the ground. Lozito later tried to sue the police for failing to intervene earlier (see details below).
Perpetrator and victims
Maksim Gelman (Russian: Максим Гельман; born May 31, 1987) was born in Ukraine (Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union). He was unemployed at the time of the stabbing spree. Gelman's father had emigrated from Ukraine to the United States in 1994. Gelman and his mother Svetlana joined him two years later, and they all moved to New York. Maksim and Svetlana remained in the U.S. even after Gelman's father returned to Ukraine upon gaining U.S. citizenship. His father reportedly was killed in Ukraine after his return. Maksim eventually became a U.S. citizen in 2005.
Gelman attended James Madison High School before being transferred to Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, according to a former student there, although it is unclear whether he graduated. He was known around the school as being a skateboarder. His unpopularity left him without many friends or girlfriends, which reportedly amplified his paranoid and antisocial tendencies. He built a record with law enforcement after being arrested many times, mostly for graffiti-related offenses. Among graffiti artists, the few who knew of him viewed him as a largely unwanted troublemaker. Gelman, besides being a dealer of cocaine, prescription pills, and PCP, had been arrested for a number of charges, including possession of cocaine and for graffiti vandalism.
- Aleksandr Kuznetsov, 54, his stepfather
- Anna Bulchenko, 56, mother of Yelena Bulchenko
- Yelena Bulchenko, 20, an acquaintance
- Stephen Tanenbaum, 62, a pedestrian who was killed when he was run over by Gelman
- Arthur DiCrescento
- An unidentified crossing guard
- Fitz Fullerton
- Sheldon Pottinger
- Joseph Lozito
Trial and sentencing
On February 13, 2011, Gelman was arraigned in a Brooklyn courtroom on charges of murder and assault, where he was represented by public defender Michael Baum. While being led from the police precinct to the courthouse, in front of a crowd of onlookers and reporters, Gelman reportedly showed no remorse, saying that he had been "set up." Although no motive for the murders has been yet offered by the authorities, it has been speculated in the media that the rampage was triggered by Gelman's advances being scorned by Yelena Bulchenko. On November 30, 2011, Gelman pleaded guilty to all charges.
On January 18, 2012, Gelman appeared in the New York Supreme Court, Kings County, for his sentencing. Sitting in court next to his attorney, Edward Friedman, Gelman was reported as being "unruly", laughing or yelling at the judge and the family and friends of some of his victims. At the conclusion of the trial, New York State Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice sentenced Gelman to 200 years in prison, telling Gelman, "You are a violent sociopath." Cameras were allowed in the courtroom, and photos showing Gelman's reaction at the time of sentencing were widely distributed.
Civil suit by Lozito
In the spring of 2012, Joseph Lozito, who was brutally stabbed and "grievously wounded, deeply slashed around the head and neck", sued police for negligence in failing to render assistance to him as he was being attacked by Gelman. Lozito told reporters that he decided to file the lawsuit after allegedly learning from "a grand-jury member" that NYPD officer Terrance Howell testified that he hid from Gelman before and while Lozito was being attacked because Howell thought Gelman had a gun. In response to the suit, attorneys for the City of New York argued that police had no duty to protect Lozito or any other person from Gelman. On July 25, 2013, Judge Margaret Chan dismissed Lozito's suit, stating that while Lozito's account of the attack rang true and appeared "highly credible", Chan agreed that police had "no special duty" to protect Lozito. Lozito later gave an account of the aftermath to Cracked.com and narrated a video, offering his perspective of the event and as a warning to others involved in similar situations.
- "Joseph Lozito fought for his life in subway face-off with knife-wielding madman Maksim Gelman" NY Daily News, 13 February 2011
- "Romance that fueled Maksim Gelman's bloody rampage was in his mind, friends of Yelena Bulchenko say" NY Daily News, 14 February 2011
- "Suspect Arrested in NYC Stabbing Spree"
- "Before Deadly Rampage, Some Saw Warning Signs" New York Times, 13 February 2011
- "Mad Maks". The Killer Speaks. A&E. April 18, 2013.
- "Maksim Gelman, accused of killing 4 in stabbing, carjacking spree caught after daylong manhunt"
- "Man Held After Spree of New York Killings" Wall Street Journal, 14 February 2011
- "'You can burn in hell': Boyfriend's anger as Mad Maks killer hurls obscenities about female victim as he is jailed for 200 years"
- "Years of Watching MMA Helped Heroic Joe Lozito Help End Murder Manhunt" MMAfighting.com
- Buettner, Russ (18 January 2012). "Confessed Killer Maksim Gelman Pleads Guilty to Subway Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Joseph Lozito Sues City For Not Helping Him Take Down Alleged Stabber Maksim Gelman The Huffingtion Post, 03/23/2011, Updated May 25, 2011
- Kathianne Boniello, City says cops had no duty to protect subway hero who subdued killer, the NY Post, January 27, 2013
- "District Attorney Vance Announces Indictment of Maksim Gelman for Attempted Murder". Manhattan District Attorney's Office. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Maksim Gelman, Admitted New York City Killer, Gets 200-Year Sentence For Stabbing Rampage" Huffington Post, 19 January 2012
- Gutkin, Mikhail (11 February 2011). "Максиму Гельману, обвиняемому в четырех убийствах, в США назначен бесплатный адвокат" (in Russian). RuNyWeb.com. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- "Maksim Gelman's short lived life in Graffiti" Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. Ltv Squad
- "Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes Announces The Indictment Of Maksim Gelman, Charged With Four Murders, Two Attempted Murders And Two Car Jackings". Kings County District Attorney's Office. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Joseph Lozito Used Martial Arts Tactic He Saw on TV to End Alleged Stabber's Spree" ABC News, 14 February 2011
- "NY Killing-Spree Suspect: 'Sometimes, My Mind Isn't Right'" Archived 2011-03-22 at the Wayback Machine. AOL News, 16 February 2011
- E.g. "NYC slasher sentenced", Yahoo News, 19 January 2012
- Julia Marsh. "Zero for hero: Judge snubs man hurt stopping 'Butcher of Brighton Beach.'" New York Post. July 26, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Barbara Ross. "Subway stabbing victim cannot sue city over cops not preventing attack." New York Daily News. July 26, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Kristine Johnson. Exclusive: Horror, Heroism On The 3 Train. CBS New York. February 17, 2011. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Kathianne Biniello. "City says cops had no duty to protect subway hero who subdued killer." New York Post. January 27, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Will Bunch. "Subway hero sues NYPD for failing to protect him". Philly.com. March 23, 2011. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Lozito v. CNY. INDEX 101088/12. July 25, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Evans, Robert. "Cops Won't Help You: 7 Things I Saw as a Real Slasher Victim". Cracked.com. Cracked.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017.