A teenager accused of killing a radio newsman he met through a Craigslist sex advertisement was set to stand trial Monday on murder and weapons charges.
Prosecutors say John Katehis, then 16, stabbed George Weber to death in Weber's apartment in March 2009 just days after the two met online. Weber, 47, had been working as a freelancer for ABC News Radio, the national network.
In a video statement played at a pretrial hearing last week, Katehis, now 18, said he had answered Weber's ad offering to pay someone to smother him. The prosecutor said during that hearing that Katehis was the one who placed an ad soliciting money in exchange for sex.
Katehis' lawyers plan to argue that he became frightened and acted in self-defense when Weber pulled out a knife during the encounter. Defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz also said the encounter was illegal because Katehis was 16 at the time. The legal age to consent to sex in New York is 17.
The prosecutor said Katehis intended to kill Weber, although she hasn't yet said what his motive was.
Under pressure from state attorneys general and advocacy groups, Craigslist shut down the adult services section of its U.S. sites last month.
Authorities haved pointed to the case of 24-year-old Philip Markoff as a prime example of the dangers posed by Craigslist services. The former medical student was accused of killing a masseuse he met in 2009 through ads on Craigslist for erotic services. Markoff committed suicide in the Boston jail where he was awaiting trial.