Conviction Reversed in Samurai Sword Stepfather Slaying

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Suffolk County
    Zachary Gibian in 2006.

    A Long Island judge has reversed the 2007 murder conviction of a man accused of killing his stepfather with an antique samurai sword.

    Zachary Gibian was 20-years-old when he was convicted in 2006 of second degree murder for killing his stepfather Scott Nager as he slept on the sofa in their Hauppauge living room.  He may now get a new trial.

    An Appellate Court  judge reversed Gibian's original conviction, saying the trial was flawed when the court did not allow the defendant to testify about a statement that his mother allegedly made to him on the day of the slaying. The Suffolk County District Attorney will now ask the Court of Appeals to take a look a today's reversal.  If it stands, it could head back to court for a new trial.

    Gibian confessed to the slaying on videotape but later said he was lying to protect his mother, Laura Nager, who he claimed killed her husband because she discovered he was sexually abusing Gibian.

    Gibian also testified under oath at that homicide detectives coached him to be convincing for the recording of his confession.

    The defendant contended that only after his mother made this detailed statement to him that she had murdered her husband did he confess to police that he had killed his step-father in an effort to protect her.

    The reveral also found that the original trial was marred by juror misconduct during deliberations and curtailment of the defense's closing statements.

    "I believe there are significant issues that deserve to be heard by the highest court in the state. Accordingly, we will appeal this decision," District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

    The 51-year-old Nager was a retired New York City police officer. He was nearly decapitated by two blows from an antique samurai sword swiped from his own collection of war memorabilia.