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Dmitiry Popov pleads not guilty in O'Shae Sibley's stabbing death; Attorney says he "regrets what happened"

17-year-old pleads not guilty in O'Shae Sibley's stabbing death
17-year-old pleads not guilty in O'Shae Sibley's stabbing death 02:27

NEW YORK -- Dmitiry Popov, the 17-year-old accused of stabbing dancer O'Shae Sibley to death, faced a judge for arraignment Friday morning.

Popov is being charged as an adult with second-degree murder as a hate crime, among other counts. CBS New York's Alice Gainer was inside the courtroom as his attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

He wore a sweatshirt and sweatpants, had a shaved head, and looked at his family as they waved at him. He said "good morning" and "thank you" when the judge addressed him.

The family had no comment as they left the courthouse, but his lawyer spoke for the first time.

Watch: Attorney for suspect in O'Shae Sibley murder speaks

Attorney speaks after suspect arraigned in O'Shae Sibley stabbing 10:34

"Nothing about his past or history shows that he's the type of person to commit this crime," Mark Pollard told reporters outside court.

The attorney told Gainer his client is "sorrowful, he's sad, he's afraid -- as he should be at 17 years old -- but he has faith and he prays, and he has great family support and he's hanging in there."

He went on to say his client "regrets what happened," adding, "but that doesn't mean he's guilty of a crime -- that's two different things."

Read More: O'Shae Sibley's stabbing death will be prosecuted as a hate crime, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez says

The arraignment came just days after Sibley's emotional funeral in Philadelphia, where he grew up. Prosecutors allege the 28-year-old was killed in a hate-fueled attack.  

On July 29, Sibley and his friends were dancing to a Beyoncé song as they got gas at a station in Midwood, Brooklyn. They got into an argument with a group of teens, who police said used homophobic slurs and made anti-Black statements.

Security video shows the argument ended with both groups walking away. Sibley then came back to confront the 17-year-old, who was recording with his phone as he allegedly continued to say hateful remarks. Sibley was seen following the teen, then lunging at him. 

The Brooklyn district attorney says Popov allegedly reached into his pocket and pointed a knife at one of Sibley's friends, threatening to stab him. The stabbing happened out of view of the cameras, allegedly at the hands of Popov.

While speaking Thursday, DA Eric Gonzalez noted Sibley did not have a weapon.

"Defending yourself from being an anti-gay or an anti-Black comment and arguing back is not a cause for someone to take a weapon and do what was done in this case," Gonzalez said Thursday. "Hate crimes impacts a victim, but it also impacts a community. It robs not just the family, but an entire community of the sense of safety and security."

Popov's attorney claims his client did not hurl hate speech.

"It's my understanding that he did not, and I suspect that other people did that were not arrested," Pollard said.

He says they're looking into self-defense, but it's early in the discovery process.

Former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney David Schwartz, who is not involved in the case, explains what that would require.

"What the defense needs to show is that this act was justified and that the defendant reasonably believed that his life was in harm or he was in danger of physical harm," he said. "The defendant first had to try to retreat from the harm before invoking the self-defense."

Popov's next court date is Oct. 10, so he will start his senior year of high school at the juvenile facility where he's being held. If convicted on the hate crime count, he faces a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of 25 to life in prison.

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