NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A dramatic scene unfolded outside of court on Sunday, after the suspect in a deadly Long Island stabbing appeared in front of a judge.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, friends of the suspect claim that he was bullied, but the victim’s family disagreed.
James Moran’s Godmother Marlissa Fermin was enraged after facing his alleged killer in court on Sunday.
“He should not have died like that,” she said.
Michael Grusel, 28, pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree manslaughter. He stands accused of stabbing Moran, a 20-year-old father, to death on Saturday near a little league field in Babylon.
“This is premeditated. He went there with a knife to kill James,” Fermin said, “It was a prior altercation about money and drugs and this is what the outcome is.”
Grusel’s attorney told a different story.
“He didn’t intend to kill anybody. He had no intent to do anything but go to the park that morning,” Robert Macedonio said.
Macedonio said that Grusel, who has prior drug arrests, is schizophrenic and had been bullied for years. He said that bruises on his client’s face occurred during an attack that led to Moran’s death.
“He was approached, accosted, and assaulted by individuals. He was running from that and then the second altercation occurred and someone was stabbed,” Macedonio said.
Friends defended Grusel as they left the courtroom amid screams from Moran’s loved ones.
“This was not premeditated,” one friend said.
Family members said that Moran was saving money to move with his 2-year-old daughter and fiancee to Florida, a dream that was dashed by his violent death.
A judge set bail at $1-million. If Grusel is convicted he faces between 5 and 25 years in state prison. He is due back in court on Friday.
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