NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Queens woman accused of shoving another woman to her death at a midtown subway station was arraigned Tuesday.
Thirty-year-old Melanie Liverpool, of St. Albans, stood in front of a judge and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder at Manhattan Criminal Court.
Liverpool was immediately placed under arrest Monday afternoon, moments after police said she pushed a 49-year-old woman standing on the platform, in front of a southbound No. 1 train at the Times Square/42nd Street station.
The victim has been identified as Connie Watton of Long Island City, Queens.
The prosecution asked that Liverpool remain in jail because she confessed to police, but during her arraignment Liverpool said, “I didn’t admit to nothing.”
The platform was filled with commuters at the time of the incident.
“They saw this woman push another woman and they flagged down two police officers,” said NYPD Chief of Manhattan South Detectives William Aubry. “It’s a horrible incident and your heart goes out to this family and this victim.”
Witnesses described hearing arguing before the fatal push. Police said the women did not know each other and that Liverpool may have been talking to herself before lashing out.
Authorities have described her as emotionally disturbed, but her lawyer, Mathew Mari, said she had declined to give him any details on her medical history.
“She’s adamant that she did not confess and that she’s not guilty” and didn’t want to discuss anything else, Mari said.
“Not much was spoken of, she just said she’s not guilty, period,” attorney Matthew Mari said.
The case will be brought in front of the grand jury on Nov. 10. Liverpool has been remanded until her next court date.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, friends and neighbors of Watton visited her husband at the couple’s Astoria apartment on Thursday. They described her as a kind woman, and asked for privacy.
“Just like everyone said, she’s great,” one man said.
The incident has left some straphangers on edge.
“I don’t stand near the yellow line,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ John Montone. “Keep my eyes open, be very alert.”
“Worrying really ain’t gonna do anything. You just gotta be safe and watch your surroundings,” another woman said.
During interrogation, Liverpool allegedly claimed she was involved in another fatality on the tracks that investigators had previously ruled as a suicide. Police are investigating that claim.
In recent years, about 50 people a year have died after being hit by New York City subway trains, in situations ranging from accidents to willful leaps. The numbers are small compared with the more than 1.7 billion subway rides taken each year, and officials say a substantial proportion are suicides.
A fatal subway push in 1999 led to state legislation, called Kendra’s Law in honor of victim Kendra Webdale, allowing supervision of certain psychiatric patients outside of institutions to make sure they’re taking medications and don’t present a public safety threat.
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