CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A man accused in the murder of a prominent Long Island equestrian has pleaded not guilty.
Unshaven and wearing a Madonna T-shirt, Brett Knight, 45, said nothing to reporters as he was escorted from the Sixth Precinct to an awaiting vehicle that took him to First District Court in Central Islip where he was arraigned Friday morning, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.
The judge considers Knight a flight risk and ordered him to be held without bail, CBS 2 reported.
Knight was captured by U.S. Marshals in Tennessee earlier this week and was returned to New York on Thursday.
The Brigham Young University honors graduate and former American Express executive has been charged with second-degree murder and aggravated harassment in connection with last month’s shooting death of 50-year-old Ross Reisner.
Around 8:45 p.m. on Sept. 24, prosecutors allege Knight fired 11 shots through the window of a home in East Setauket, killing Reisner and wounding the equestrian’s longtime partner, Kevin Murray, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
Knight, a former tenant who rented a downstairs apartment, was an immediate suspect in the shooting. He had allegedly been harassing the homeowners and had reportedly mailed them a dead bird.
Neighbors were relieved by Knight’s arrest, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“This crime was horrifying and in a close neighborhood, everybody knows everybody. I’m happy he’s in jail,” Time O’toole said.
Knight’s attorney said his client denies the allegations.
“My client has been good friends with these people for some 20 years,” attorney Michael Brown said. “So there’s really no incentive or motive to cause any type of injury to them.”
Brown would not say if the victim and the defendant ever had a romantic relationship.
“There’s things I think are important and they’re going to come out down the road and I think they’ll have an important part of the defense, but we’re not going to get into that at this point in time,” he said.
Prosecutors did not provide a motive for the shooting, but said Knight, who was Reisner’s former tenant, had made admissions of guilt, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
A few months before the shooting, Murray, who suffered a graze wound to the arm, had filed a complaint against Knight after he allegedly harassed Reisner.
Reisner was a professional horse trainer as well as a rider. He appeared for decades at the Hampton Classic Horse Show.
Knight is due back in court on Oct. 16. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in jail.
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