EDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) —The son of a former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife pleaded not guilty in connection with the stabbing death of a teenager in Edgewater.
Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, 19-year-old Khari Noerdlinger appeared before a judge Tuesday morning as supporters looked on, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
He is charged with aggravated manslaughter, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and hindering apprehension in the juvenile’s death.
Prosecutors said Noerdlinger killed 16-year-old Savion Lewallen of Spring Valley, New York.
As CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported, Noerdlinger has claimed self-defense, but prosecutors said he knew his victim.
They said Lewallen worked for Noerdlinger and had come with four others to Noerdlinger’s Edgewater home Sunday night to confront Noerdlinger about money he allegedly owed him, CBS2’s Burrell reported.
There was an altercation that ended with Noerdlinger allegedly plunging a knife seven inches into Lewallen’s leg, severing an artery, authorities said. Lewallen died Monday at an area hospital.
“This defendant had a preexisting relationship, they also shared a business together and the evidence does show that they in fact were drug dealers,” said prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer.
But defense attorney Jeffrey Litchman said his client was trying to save his own life and said they will “fight these charges vigorously.”
“He was jumped, he was attacked and he probably saved his own life by taking the actions that he did,” Litchman said.
The four other would-be robbers were facing charges as well, accused of trying to cover-up the altercation.
Noerdlinger’s neighbors were shocked by what happened.
“It’s just unimaginable that something of this kind would happen here,” one man told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
Noerdlinger is the son of Rachel Noerdlinger, a former aide to New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray.
In 2014, Khari Noerdlinger was arrested for criminal trespass. Later that year, his mother stepped down from her job, saying in part to spend more time with her son.
De Blasio and McCray issued a statement on Monday saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family that has lost their son, and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Noerdlinger is being held on $500,000 bail.
The four other suspects, also from Rockland County, are facing robbery charges. They are being held on $750,000 bail and are due in court later Tuesday.