Family, Friends Begin To Say Goodbyes To Philip Seymour Hoffman
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two of the three suspects arrested amid the investigation into Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death were out of jail Thursday night as friends and family began to say their final goodbyes to the Oscar-winning actor.
A-list stars such as Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams and John C. Reilly were among the mourners shuffling in and out of the Frank E. Campbell funeral home on the Upper East Side for a private wake held for Hoffman.
Hoffman’s longtime girlfriend, Mimi O’Donnell, arrived first with their children — Cooper, Tallulah and Willa.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, inside the funeral home, Hoffman’s relatives displayed pictures of his life, his family and his career. Hoffman’s children placed mementos inside his casket, which was left closed during the wake.
According to 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten, reporters kept at a respectful distance, able to photograph but not to talk to those attending. A private funeral will be held Friday at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue. A larger memorial service will be held later this month, Hoffman’s publicist said.
Earlier Thursday, two suspects whom police believe might have been connected to Hoffman’s suspected drug overdose appeared in court. Juliana Luchkiw, 22, was released from jail on her own recognizance. Her boyfriend, 22-year-old Max Rosenblum, was freed on $35,000 bond.
Police arrested Luchkiw and Rosenblum along with jazz musician Robert Vineberg just days after Hoffman, 46, was found dead with a needle in his arm in his West Village apartment Sunday.
Investigators looking into his death got a tip Hoffman had visited a building on Mott Street to buy the drugs. Police say Vineberg had Hoffman’s cellphone number.
In searches of two apartments in the building, police found hundreds of packets of heroin in one of them, according to a criminal complaint. All three defendants live in the building.
Lawyers for the three vigorously denied their clients had any role in Hoffman’s death and suggested they were being swept up in a maelstrom of attention surrounding the actor’s demise.
“My client absolutely is not involved in selling any drugs, certainly not heroin, but any drugs, and certainly not involved in selling drugs to Mr. Hoffman,” Luchkiw’s lawyer, Steve Turano, told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell.
“He’s never met, spoken to, seen, had anything to do with Philip Seymour Hoffman,” said Rosenblum’s attorney, Daniel Hochheiser.
The attorneys say the case has become an unnecessary media circus.
“Without some alleged connection, which nobody has established to the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, none of you would be here,” Hochheiser said.
All three suspects were indicted within a day after their arrests, a somewhat unusual step. Luchkiw, a fashion student, and Rosenblum, a nightclub disc jockey, are facing misdemeanor drug possession charges.
Only Vineberg is facing a felony charge of heroin possession with intent to sell. During his court appearance Wednesday, he pointed at cameras and held his hands up in front of his face.
“This case and the charges against Mr. Vineberg have absolutely nothing to do with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman,” said his lawyer, Edward Kratt, who declined to say whether Vineberg knew Hoffman. “We’re hoping the (district attorney) will not use Mr. Vineberg as a scapegoat.”
Kratt said that his client never sold drugs.
“He’s a 57-year-old gentleman and accomplished musician with no prior criminal record,” Kratt said.
Luchkiw and Rosenbaum had two bags of cocaine, while investigators found about 300 packets of heroin, a bag of cocaine and about $1,200 in cash in Vineberg’s apartment, according to criminal complaints.
All three co-defendants are due back in court next week.
Prosecutors declined to pursue charges against a fourth suspect, saying there was no evidence that he had control of the drugs or the apartment in which they were found.
Investigators have determined that the “Capote” star made six ATM transactions for a total of $1,200 inside a supermarket near his home the day before his death, law enforcement officials have said.
Dozens of bags of heroin and prescription drugs were found near Hoffman’s body.
Investigators are examining a computer and two iPads found at the scene for clues and recovered syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a blood pressure drug and a muscle relaxant, law enforcement officials said.
Some of the packets found in Hoffman’s apartment were variously stamped with “Ace of Hearts” and others with “Ace of Spades.” Those found in the building where the arrests occurred had different brand names, including “Black List” and “Panda,” the officials said.
Police on Wednesday night also analyzed heroin confiscated under a search warrant from the suspects’ apartments to determine whether there is a match or similarity to the heroin found at Hoffman’s apartment.
Police were waiting for a cause of death for the actor from the medical examiner’s office, which said Wednesday that more tests were needed.
Hoffman had been frank about struggling with substance abuse. He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2006 that he had he used “anything I could get my hands on” before getting clean at age 22.
But in interviews last year, he said he’d relapsed, had developed a heroin problem and had gone to rehab for a time.
Meanwhile, the theater community mourned the actor with a dimming of Broadway’s marquee lights and a candlelight vigil.
The vigil Wednesday night was held outside the 90-seat home of the Labyrinth Theatre Company, where Hoffman had long been a member. And at 7:45 p.m., Broadway’s lights turned off for a minute.
“We come together tonight in a spirit of terrible mourning and incredible loss,” the Rev. Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest and Labyrinth member, told the crowd of about 200 people who stood in a chilly drizzle. “But we also come together to celebrate a remarkable life.”
“Courage was his forte, always,” said playwright and actor Eric Bogosian, a longtime Labyrinth collaborator. “Phil set his bar on the highest rung, on a rung above the highest rung. He pushed himself relentlessly until finally his efforts virtually redefined the very endeavor we call acting. That’s what he wanted. He wanted to rock the world.”
Hoffman’s family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Hoffman’s name to two charities he supported: the DreamYard Project and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
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