Attorneys for Daniel St Hubert, the homeless Brooklyn man found guilty of fatally stabbing a six-year-old boy and wounding his seven-year-old best friend are seeking a new trial for their client
Attorneys for the homeless Brooklyn man who was found guilty of fatally stabbing a six-year-old boy and wounding his seven-year-old best friend in an elevator attack are seeking a new trial for their client.
Defense lawyers Howard Greenberg and Jonathan Rosenberg claim in a motion seeking to overturn the jury’s verdict that Assistant District Attorney Patrick O’Connor ‘repeatedly referred to the defendant’s race in both derogative and stereotypical terms’ that ‘poisoned’ the mostly black jurors in the case.
Daniel St Hubert, a 31-year-old African American man, was convicted of murder and attempted murder on April 10 in the 2014 attack that left Prince Joshua ‘PJ’ Avitto dead.
‘This motion is entirely without merit, and we will respond to it in court,’ said a spokesperson for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.
The defense lawyers stated in their filing that O’Connor, who is also black, swayed the jury by referring to St Hubert as a ‘hulking black man [with] murder was in his DNA,’ and a ‘large black man.’
The lawyers called such references to St. Hubert’s race ‘humiliatingly derogative terms that would have made an all-white jury on the Deep South, prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, befittingly proud.’
St Hubert was convicted of killing Prince Joshua ‘PJ’ Avitto (right) by stabbing him with an eight-inch knife 11 times, as well as stabbing his friend Mikayla Capers (left) 16 times, leaving her fighting for her life for more than a week after an attack in an elevator in June 2014
St Hubert (pictured in June 2014) was arrested four days later after police matched a DNA sample on the knife to his own DNA from a state criminal database
They argue the DA ‘played to prejudice’ and made erroneous statements that the DNA profile found on the murder weapon matched a ‘male, black, large.’
The lawyers pointed out that DNA profiling ‘does not make a black man appear “large” or “hulking” in stature; only human profiling.’
St Hubert was convicted of killing PJ by stabbing him with an eight-inch knife 11 times, as well as stabbing his friend Mikayla Capers 16 times, leaving her fighting for her life for more than a week.
The two children had been at a local playground when St Hubert followed them into an elevator in PJ’s building in June 2014, according to the New York Times.
The two children had been at a local playground when St Hubert followed them into an elevator in PJ’s building in June 2014 (PJ is pictured)
They were on their way to get Icees upstairs when St Hubert told them to shut up, Mikayla said
They were on their way to get Icees upstairs when St Hubert told them to shut up, Mikayla, now 11, told the courtroom.
When they continued to talk, St Hubert pulled out his knife and began to brutally stab the children. He left the knife behind before fleeing in front of eyewitnesses.
Mikayla suffered a collapsed lung and spent nine days recovering in the hospital as she mourned her young friend.
St Hubert was arrested four days later after police matched a DNA sample on the knife to his own DNA from a state criminal database.
After he was arrested, St Hubert told police: ‘Satan has powers and controls things.’
He was only found fit to stand trial this January.
Mikayla took the witness stand during St Hubert’s trial, and was called a ‘pathological liar’ and ‘delusional’ by his attorney Howard Greenberg.
Greenberg claimed that St Hubert was being framed and said the DNA evidence was ‘junk science’.
St Hubert faces 50 years to life in prison for the death of PJ (pictured) and stabbing of Mikayla
But Mikayala was elated by the news that St Hubert was found guilty, her family told the New York Post.
‘Now the bad man can never hurt anybody else,’ she said. ‘I’m going to let PJ know so he can rest in peace.’
St Hubert faces 50 years to life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15.
Aricka McClinton, PJ’s mom, cried out ‘my baby can rest in peace now’ as she left the courtroom on the day of his conviction.
McClinton said she has not yet been able to forgive St Hubert for what he did.
‘One day in my heart I will find that forgiveness,’ she said. ‘But it won’t be today.’
‘Today is not the day. Today is Prince and Mikayla’s day.’
Pending the result of his lawyer’s motion, St Hubert is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15