Search for answers after deadly stabbing spree

February 14, 2011 3:16:45 PM PST
A new attorney has been assigned to the man accused of going on a 28-hour stabbing spree through New York City that left four people dead.

Defendant Maksim Gelman did not appear at the hearing on Monday in Brooklyn. His new attorney, Edward Friedman, had no comment.

Gelman had been arraigned Sunday in Brooklyn Criminal Court on charges of second-degree murder, robbery and assault. He is being held without bail.

Gelman's initial public defender, Michael Baum, represented Gelman at the arraignment. Baum says he cannot shed any light on Gelman's mental state.

Four people were killed and four others injured in a little more than 24 hours.

Police say the suspect, 23-year-old Gelman, had built a shrine to one of his victims, a 20-year-old woman who was apparently the object of his fantasy.

According to reports, residents taunted Gelman as officers led him out of a police station in Homecrest to his arraignment in Downtown Brooklyn Sunday. He reportedly responded by telling them he was set up.

Gelman is now being held without bail, facing charges including second-degree murder, robbery and assault. He will also likely face further charges in Manhattan.

He appeared calm, following what prosecutors say was a murderous stabbing spree across the two boroughs.

Between Friday and Saturday morning, police say Gelman killed four people. His first victim was 54-year-old Aleksandr Kuznetsov, his stepfather. Police say he then turned up at the home of a 20-year-old acquaintance, Yelena Bulchenko, and stabbed to death her mother, 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko, police said.

When Yelena Bulchenko arrived home at about 4 p.m., she found her mother dead in a pool of blood and called 911. But Gelman was waiting for her there, chased her outside and stabbed her 11 times, authorities said.

Police initially identified Yelena Bulchenko as Gelman's ex-girlfriend, but the nature of their relationship was unclear. Some friends said that if the two ever dated, they were unaware of it.

Gelman sped away in his mom's car to another part of Brooklyn, where he rear-ended a Pontiac, then stabbed the driver when he confronted Gelman about the crash, police said. The driver was slashed three times in the chest but survived and was stable at a hospital.

Police say Gelman left the man bleeding on the street and drove off in his Pontiac, but smacked into 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who died from his injuries. He later abandoned the car, engine running, in a private driveway not far from a freight railroad where he once was caught spray-painting graffiti, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

Police say three more people were injured, all of them during separate encounters with Gelman as he evaded police.

The amazing capture of the suspect happened as the number three train rolled into the Times Square station. It was a life and death struggle that Joe Lozito described first to Eyewitness News.

"If I didn't do something he was going to hurt me and maybe worse hurt others," Lozito said.

Bravely willing to take that chance, Lozito, thinking of his wife and his children, kept and eye on Gelman in the front car of a number three train as he approached.

"He's about two, three feet from me. He takes a knife out. He says, 'You're going to die. You're going to die," Lozito said.

With bruises and cuts to show for what would be a life and death struggle, Joe fought to free the knife from the suspect's grip.

Joe remembers being slashed in the head, face, fingers and arm.

"The blood is coming out me. And now I am starting to think I got to get to a hospital. Someone's got to help me because I might die here. And I don't want to die on the subway train," he said.

On that same train heading into Times Square, transit officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor with help from off-duty Detective Darcelo Rizzo wrestled the suspect to the ground and grabbed the blood-soaked knife.

Lozito's sons, 10 year old Joseph and seven year old Dominick, see their dad as a hero.

"I know that if there is anything happening I know my dad will be there and everything," Joseph said.

"I was like proud of him. I thought it was awesome that he took that guy out," Dominick added.