Slasher gets 200 years prison for New York rampage

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 18, 2012 7:58 PM
Slasher gets 200 years prison for New York rampage

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man was sentenced on Wednesday to 200 years in prison for a stabbing spree across New York City that left four people dead, capping a court appearance in which he shouted profanities at the judge and disparaged his victims.

Cackling and shouting insults, Maksim Gelman, 24, appeared in an orange prison jumpsuit at the Supreme Court in Brooklyn to be sentenced for the day-long rampage that claimed the lives of his stepfather, a female acquaintance and her mother and a pedestrian unknown to him.

Gelman yelled obscenities as Gerard Honig, the boyfriend of one of Gelman's victims, Yelena Bulchenko, addressed the court.

"He doesn't seem like he has any remorse or care in the world," Honig told the judge before being interrupted by Gelman, who shouted, "You fell in love with a heroin addict!" and called him a profane name.

"You'll burn in hell!" Honig, his face turning red, shouted back at Gelman, who was then escorted by guards out of the court and back to his cell.

A smiling Gelman was brought back into court a short while later.

Asked by Judge Vincent Del Giudice if he had anything to say before his sentencing, Gelman said the police should have stopped him after the first murder.

"I'm not the bad guy here. These people I killed did bad things to me," he said. "It's not my fault."

Gelman pleaded guilty in November to all 13 charges against him, beginning with the fatal stabbing his stepfather, Alexander Kuznetsov, at his Brooklyn home on February 11. Gelman had become enraged after his stepfather said he could not borrow his mother's car, prosecutors said.

Gelman then drove to the home of Bulchenko, an acquaintance, where he stabbed her and her mother, Anna Bulchenko, 56, to death.

Gelman drove off and smashed into a car, stabbed the driver and stole his car. The driver survived.

Gelman then struck and killed a pedestrian, Stephen Tanenbaum. Later, he attacked two more drivers with a knife and stole a second car.

He was arrested on a subway in Times Square and was found carrying a bloody kitchen knife not long after stabbing a passenger in the neck, police said. That passenger also survived.

Gelman pleaded guilty to charges in the subway attack in a separate hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday.

At Wednesday's sentencing, Gelman told the court he had killed his stepfather and Yelena Bulchenko because "they did bad things to me."

Ed Friedman, Gelman's lawyer, said although he agreed that his client was not legally insane, he nonetheless had a "diseased mind" and "the words that are coming out of his mouth are not the words of a healthy human being."

Judge Del Giudice said that although the courts were often more lenient if a defendant pleaded guilty, that was not appropriate in this case.

"You, sir, are a pathologically violent predator, a sociopath," the judge told Gelman before sentencing him to at least 200 years to life in prison for the murders.

"Now take him out of my sight," he told the guards.

As he was lead away, a snickering Gelman crudely told the judge that he should perform a sexual act on him.

"Your offer is declined," the judge replied.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Paul Thomasch)