An update on the trial of the teen accused of stabbing to death Roberto Duncanson, a young black gay Brooklyn man, because he believed Duncanson was gay and flirting with him. The case has gone to the jury and the judge has dropped the hate crime charge.
Nineteen-year-old Omar Willock is charged with fatally stabbing the 20-year-old Duncanson to death on May 12, 2007. Witnesses and the prosecution say the two men passed each other on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights. Willock followed him for several blocks, yelled anti-gay and homophobic epithets and fatally stabbed him. Defense attorneys are trying raise reasonable doubt because the defendant has an identical twin brother. Before closing arguments, defense attorneys asked for a mistrial.
[Judge Neil J.] Firetog denied the mistrial application. The judge did dismiss the hate
crime charge against Omar—a dismissal the defense sought—that would
have increased the minimum prison time he faced if convicted.
"I've decided as a matter of law the hate crime case is not made out," Firetog said with the jury out of the courtroom. "I think it was a contributing factor, but under the law it has to be a substantial factor."
The jury will weigh if Omar is guilty of second-degree murder and also first-degree manslaughter, a charge the prosecution sought.
Willock now faces charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. The defendant could face a 15 years to life.
Roberto Duncanson, nicknamed "Pancho", was out to coworkers and close friends but not his mother or family. The verdict could be returned as early as today.
Some Background ...
Trial Begins in Brooklyn Gay Hate Crime Murder [R20]