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'Motivational Speaker' Murder Trial Heats Up In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Can someone say they killed a person because they were begged to do it?

And if so, is it murder or assisted suicide?

That's exactly what a jury in Manhattan has to decide in a bizarre stabbing death, reports CBS 2's Pablo Guzman.

The body was found in a car in East Harlem in July 2009. Kenneth Minor is on trial now for the murder. The victim was motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker.

When Minor was arrested, he told police Locker came from the suburbs to the ghetto to find someone who would kill him. He said Locker claimed he was in financial ruin and gave him the knife; and said Locker claimed a new life insurance policy would protect his Long Island home, and his family.

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In his opening remarks to the jury, Minor's lawyer, Daniel Gotlin, made the dead man the criminal, saying: "Mr. Locker! The ultimate con man! A motivational speaker!

"Mr. Locker drives in from the suburbs. Mr. Minor did not get in a car and drive to Long Island! And Mr. Locker finds the ultimate sucker!"

Expert defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, who is not involved in this case, explained the legal difference between murder and potential assisted suicide:

"If you assist or aid someone in committing suicide, then you can be charged with manslaughter in the second degree, which is a Class C felony, with a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail. If you take the weapon and actually kill the person yourself, even if that's what they want you to do, then there's a question of, did you intend to kill the person? And if you're shown to have acted with criminal intent, you may be charged with murder," Brafman said.

Minor has been charged with murder. Assistant District Attorney Peter Casolaro told the jury, "The defense wants you to believe Mr. Locker hurled himself on the knife four or five times. And then moved over and threw himself on the knife a couple more times!"

Have an opinion on this bizarre trial? Let us know about it in the comments section below.

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