NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After being convicted of helping a motivational speaker kill himself, a man known as the “Harlem Kevorkian” received a revised sentence on Monday.
Kenneth Minor, 41, admitted to stabbing motivational speaker and self-help author Jeffrey Locker to death on an East Harlem street in 2009. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in 2011, but his conviction was later overturned.
As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, Minor then accepted a plea deal that reduced his 20-year sentence to 12 years. The deal still carries the murder conviction rather than the crime being reduced to manslaughter.
During Monday’s sentencing, Minor apologized to the judge for any wrongdoing.
“Every choice I made I made myself. And I accept responsibility for what I did,” he said.
But Minor maintained what he has said all along: Locker wanted to die, Smith reported.
Minor said the motivational speaker approached him for help staging what would look like a deadly knife robbery so that Locker’s family could collect his life insurance.
Prosecutors admitted Locker asked Minor to help him stage his death, but said Minor went beyond assisted suicide when he stabbed Locker seven times.
Still, defense attorney Daniel Gotlin said the whole case is the definition of assisted suicide or second-degree manslaughter, not murder.
“They knew then the deceased plotted his own death,” Gotlin said. “They had records he was calling funeral homes and emails calling cemeteries — all sorts of documentary evidence.”
No one from Locker’s family appeared in court during either trial or sentencing, Smith reported. According to Gotlin, they took part in the plan to live off an $18 million insurance policy.
“They certainly knew he wanted to kill himself. They were well aware of it,” he said.
In court, Minor told the judge he’s been going to church and reflecting on life. The judge declared him a changed man, telling him she hopes to never see him in a court room again, Smith reported.
Minor’s wife, Dawn, said she’s glad it’s all over with.
“He’s just been praying and he accepts the things that he has done,” she said.
Even though Minor said in court he is satisfied with the sentence, Gotlin said he plans to appeal yet again, Smith reported.
Minor has been behind bars for five years. That time will go toward his new sentence. He will then be released with five years supervision.
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