New York man pleads guilty after deadly rampage

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2011 7:13 PM
New York man pleads guilty after deadly rampage

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man accused of stabbing three people to death, killing a fourth victim with a car and slashing a subway passenger pleaded guilty to all charges on Wednesday in an abrupt reversal.

Maksim Gelman, 24, of Brooklyn faces the possibility of life in prison for the deadly overnight rampage in February that began with an argument with his stepfather over borrowing his mother's car.

Police said Gelman fatally stabbed his stepfather and drove to the home of Yelena Bulchenko, an acquaintance, where he stabbed her and her 56-year-old mother, Anna Bulchenko, to death.

Gelman drove away but then smashed into a car, stabbed the car's driver and stole his car, they said. The driver survived.

Gelman then struck and killed a pedestrian, Stephen Tanenbaum, 62, police said. Later that night he attacked two more drivers with a knife and stole a second car, they said.

He was arrested on a subway in Times Square carrying a bloody kitchen knife, according to police, not long after allegedly stabbing a passenger in the neck.

Gelman pleaded guilty to all 13 criminal charges filed against him, including four counts of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, along with various robbery and assault charges.

He had entered pleas of not guilty after a grand jury indicted him in February.

"While it is unusual for a defendant to plead to the top charges against him without promise of benefit the overwhelming evidence in this case left him with little option," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement.

Gelman, who was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States in 1994, is due to be sentenced on January 11.

State Supreme Court Judge Vincent DelGiudice said Gelman should expect a sentence that ensures he is never released, prosecutors said.

Gelman's attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)