NEW YORK (CBS/AP) A New York City teenager accused of fatally stabbing George Weber, a radio newsman he met on Craigslist, was apparently lured to the man's apartment for illegal sex, his lawyer claimed during opening statements Monday.
John Katehis, 18, is charged with second-degree murder for the brutal, fatal stabbing of Weber, a freelancer for ABC News Radio at the time.
According to defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz, Katehis went to Weber's Brooklyn apartment in March 2009 assuming he was going to make $60 to help move boxes, instead, when the then 16-year-old arrived, Weber offered him alcohol, a substance the teen believed to be cocaine and money in exchange for sex.
"George Weber was a 47-year-old drunk predator of an underage boy by the name of John Katehis," said Schwartz. "He lured this 16-year-old boy to his lair."
Prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi said Katehis was a willing participant, claiming that the two men exchanged e-mails and pictures prior to agreeing to meet at Weber's apartment. Weber, who had a sexual fetish for being smothered "to the point of where he was close to passing out," responded to Katehis' Craigslist advertisement in which he allegedly offered sex for money, according to prosecutors.
However, Katehis was not legally old enough to consent to sex under state law. The legal age of consent in New York is 17.
Schwartz claimed Katehis was "feeling jumpy, nervous and paranoid" and acted in self defense after Weber allegedly brandished a knife during their encounter.
Weber was stabbed more than 50 times, according to prosecutors.
"This was a vicious, brutal, intentional attack," Nicolazzi told the jury, adding that the motive may "never be quite clear."
When investigators searched Weber's apartment they were unable to find cocaine and results from Katehis' toxicology reports indicated that there were no traces of drugs in his system, Nicolazzi said.
Police officers found Weber's body on the bedroom floor of his blood-spattered apartment. According to investigators the victim's pants and underwear were at his ankles, which were bound with duct tape.
Katehis is being held without bail, if convicted he could face 25 years to life in prison.
Weber formerly worked at WABC in New York and at stations in Colorado, Pennsylvania and California.