4 Convicted in NYC Slaying of Utah Tourist
NEW YORK (AP) _ Four teen-agers were convicted Tuesday of murder and robbery in the subway- station attack in which a Utah tourist was stabbed to death as he tried to protect his mother.
The four defendants lowered their heads, and two broke into tears, when the jury foreman pronounced them guilty on all counts - one of felony murder, two of first-degree robbery and two of second-degree robbery - in the death of 22- year-old Brian Watkins.
The mothers of the defendants sat sobbing.
″I’m very disappointed,″ said Allen Farbman, attorney for defendant Pascal Carpenter. ″I think they should have acquitted. The decision came back very quickly. They were obviously influenced by the testimony of the Watkins’ family.″
Also convicted were Ricardo Nova, Johnny Hincapie and Emiliano Fernandez. All four are 19 and from the borough of Queens.
The four had been charged in the Sept. 2, 1990, attack on the Watkins family in the subway station at 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue. The family, in town from Provo for the U.S. Open tennis tournament, was heading to dinner when they were attacked.
The slain man’s parents, in tearful and gripping testimony, said they were robbed by a gang of youths and their son was stabbed while trying to help his mother, Karen, who was kicked and punched.
Watkins left a 230-foot trail of blood behind as he chased the attackers up two stairways and then collapsed. His father, Sherwin, testified that he gave his son a final blessing before he died.
After the verdict was announced, Sherwin Watkins said from his home in Provo: ″We are extremely pleased with the verdict, feeling joy for that. But I do feel some compassion for the families of the young men who committed the act.″
The killing, capping a summer of random violence, shocked the city and was publicized nationwide. It helped prompt Mayor David Dinkins to propose his ″Safe Streets, Safe City″ program, designed to increase police protection.
Justice Edwin Torres had told the jury the defendants could be convicted of felony murder - even if they had not stabbed the victim - if the panel found they took part in the crime which included the murder.
Four other young men, including the one who allegedly wielded the knife, are to be tried early next year.