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Not−guilty plea in radio slay

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The East Elmhurst teen accused of murdering ABC Radio broadcaster George Weber in his Brooklyn apartment pleaded not guilty Friday after a grand jury indicted him on murder charges.

John Katehis, 16, told investigators that he stabbed Weber in self−defense March 20 before taking $60 from the dying man’s pants, changing his clothes and fleeing the scene, according to court documents unsealed after the grand jury arraignment.

Katehis was ordered held without bail after entering his plea in front of Brooklyn State Supreme Court Judge Neil Firetog. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

The teenager described himself in his MySpace profile as an “extremist, an anarchist and a sadomasoch­ist” who enjoys “long conversations, drinking, bike riding, hanging out, roof hopping, hanging off trains ... extreme violence (chaos, anarchy etc.),” but defense attorney Jeffrey Schwartz dismissed the idea that the Web page is an accurate depiction of his client.

“He’s a teenager that is engaged in puffing himself up,” Schwartz said. “He’s trying to be a macho young ninja guy. He’s a 16−year−old goofball.”

Katehis was arrested March 24 at a bus station in Middleton, N.Y. with the help of his father, Spiro Katehis, who set up the meeting by offering him a change of clothes and money, court documents said.

Spiro Katehis “added he wanted John to tell the truth about what occurred,” according to notes taken by detectives from the 76th Precinct.

After his arrest, Katehis told police that killing Weber had been an accident.

While searching the online classified site craigslist.com, he responded to an ad in the “adult gigs” section with the title “smother me,” court documents show.

After exchanging pictures with Weber, Katehis agreed to smother the 47−year−old journalist for $60 and they set up a meeting later that week at the man’s Cobble Hill apartment, court documents show.

Once inside, Weber gave Katehis a beer and let him sniff three lines of cocaine, court documents show. The teen told detectives he was feeling “hyper” as he bound Weber’s feet with duct tape, court documents show. Katehis told police that after the newsman’s feet were restrained, Weber rolled onto his back and pulled a knife out of his pocket, according to the court papers.

Interpreting the move as a threat, Katehis said he tried to grab the knife, cutting his finger before forcing it back toward Weber and stabbing him in the neck, court papers show.

“George began to gag and curse,” the detective’s notes from Katehis’ confession read. “Later on, I saw on the Internet a story where they said George was stabbed 20 times, but I don’t remember stabbing him any other times.”

After changing clothes, dumping his bloody pants in the bathtub and spraying himself with Weber’s body spray, Katehis said he jumped on the G subway line, where he attracted the attention of a Metropolitan Transportation Authority conductor who called police, the court documents show. He told officers he had cut his hand on a broken bottle and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, court documents show. He fled the city after being released from the hospital, court documents show.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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