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Convicted in Midtown Manhattan Stabbings

October 24, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ Joseph Christopher, a white man accused of a series of assaults against blacks, has been convicted of stabbing two men, one fatally, in midtown Manhattan in December 1980.

After 10 hours of deliberation, a jury in state Supreme Court, New York’s trial-level court, on Wednesday found Christopher, 29, of Buffalo, guilty of second-degree murder, attempted murder and assault.

He was accused of killing Luis Rodriguez, a 19-year-old Bronx messenger, and wounding Ivan Frazer, 40, a Bronx cook. Both men were dark-skinned.

Christopher was sentenced to life terms in May 1982 after being convicted of fatally shooting three black men in Buffalo with a .22-caliber rifle in September 1980.

The state Court of Appeals overturned the Buffalo convictions on July 5, saying the trial judge had barred the defense from presenting expert psychiatric testimony about Christopher’s fitness to stand trial.

He still faces trial on charges he shot a black man to death in Niagara Falls on Sept. 24, 1980.

In closing arguments in the case here, defense attorney Richard Siracusa told the jury that Christopher ″is not a well person. His vision of reality has nothing to do with ours.″

Capt. Bernard Burgess, a registered Army nurse, testified during the trial that Christopher told him at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1981 that he had killed 13 black men and wanted to confess to authorities in New York and Buffalo.

″He said he had stabbed some and shot some,″ Burgess said.

Assistant District Attorney James Fogel said Christopher, then an Army private, was hospitalized at Fort Benning after trying to kill a black fellow recruit.

State Supreme Court Justice John A.K. Bradley set sentencing for Nov. 14.

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