NYC killer admits final crime: subway slashing

January 17, 2012 - 8:30 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A man who killed four people in a rampage of stabbings and carjackings across New York City admitted Tuesday to slashing a subway passenger at the end of his violent spree.

Maksim Gelman pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted murder in Manhattan. He is expected to get 25 years in prison, to be served after his sentence for the killings and other crimes he'd already admitted. He is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in Brooklyn for those; he faces 100 years in prison.

With Tuesday's plea, Gelman, 24, resolved a lingering legal remnant of what Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. called a "horrific crime spree."

Yelling "You're going to die!" Gelman abruptly attacked subway rider Joseph Lozito on a train on Feb. 12, at the end of his 28-hour trail of violence, according to a court complaint. Lozito suffered head and arm wounds that required dozens of staples and stitches, but the Lincoln Center ticket seller and martial arts buff told reporters he helped knock Gelman down with a leg swipe.

"I wasn't going to go down without a fight," Lozito told the New York Post from his hospital bed.

Police were already close on Gelman's trail, as passengers on the subway had recognized him from newspaper photographs and had alerted authorities. Officers arrested him shortly after his attack on Lozito.

The capture ended a rampage that started a day earlier with a family argument over the use of Gelman's mother's car, police said.

After killing his stepfather in the family's Brooklyn apartment, Gelman went to the Brooklyn home of a female acquaintance whose friends have said he was obsessed with her. Gelman killed the woman's mother, then waited hours for the 20-year-old daughter to return and stabbed her 11 times.

Gelman drove away, rear-ended another car and stabbed its driver when he confronted Gelman, police said. The driver survived.

Stealing the wounded man's car, Gelman drove off and plowed into a pedestrian who died from his injuries, police said. After abandoning the car, Gelman later hailed a livery cab and attacked its driver, then approached another car, attacked a man inside and hijacked the car, police said. Both men survived.

After his arrest, Gelman told police he had cancer, lamented his family life, said he wished police had shot him and warned an officer to "stay away from angel dust," a street term for the powerful hallucinogen PCP, prosecutors said in an account of Gelman's remarks filed in court last year.

In short, "I've had a doozy of a day," Gelman told officers, the document said.

All the attacks except the subway stabbing were in Brooklyn, where Gelman unexpectedly pleaded guilty in December to murder and other charges.

The subway stabbing was a separate case because it happened in Manhattan.

Gelman's lawyer, Laura H. Stasior, declined to comment. Gelman answered the judge's basic questions but said nothing else.

Lozito, who has nerve damage to his hands and extensive scars from the attack, was pleased to hear about Gelman's admission, said his lawyer, Edmond C. Chakmakian.

Lozito, who has moved since the attack from Philadelphia to New York's Long Island, has filed notice that he plans to sue the city over the stabbing. He says police didn't act quickly enough to help him. City lawyers had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Gelman remains jailed without bail while awaiting sentencing.

Gelman was born in the Ukraine but became a naturalized U.S. citizen about six years ago, police said.