Brooklyn Slasher Gets 200 Years in Killing Spree

Maksim Gelman pleaded guilty in November to murder, assault and attempted murder in the February 2011 rampage that spanned two days and to his final subway slashing crime on Tuesday.

A man who admitted killing four people in a rampage of stabbings, carjackings and other crimes was sentenced Wednesday to 200 years in prison, and had a bizarre outburst in court that included laughing and yelling at victims' relatives.

Maksim Gelman, born in Ukraine, pleaded guilty in November in Brooklyn to murder and other charges in the spree in February 2011, which included stabbing his stepfather and two others to death, fatally running down a pedestrian, stealing a car and attacking a subway passenger.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to the maximum sentence for each of 13 counts; some of the sentences will run consecutively, resulting in the 200-year term.

"You are a violent predator and sociopath," Judge Vincent Del Giudice said.

Gelman's deadly spree on Feb. 11 started with a family argument over whether he could use his mother's car.

He stabbed his stepfather to death in their Brooklyn home, then took off in the car and drove to the home of an acquaintance, Yelena Bulchenko. Bulchenko's friends have said he was obsessed with the 20-year-old woman and imagined a romantic relationship with her.

She wasn't home, but Gelman stabbed her 56-year-old mother to death, then waited nearly nine hours with the body for the daughter to return. When she walked in, he stabbed her 11 times, killing her, authorities said.

On Wednesday, Gelman interrupted Bulchenko's boyfriend, Gerard Honig, telling him he had fallen in love "with a heroin addict," to which Honig responded, "You can burn in hell."

Gelman was then removed from the courtroom for a short time.

After stabbing Bulchenko, Gelman left the home, rear-ended a car and wildly stabbed at the driver, authorities said. The driver survived.

Stealing the wounded man's car, Gelman drove off and plowed into 62-year-old Stephen Tanenbaum, who died from his injuries. After abandoning the car, he later hailed a livery cab and attacked its driver, then approached another car, attacked a man inside and seized the car, police said. Both men survived.

All those attacks happened in Brooklyn. As authorities hunted him, Gelman was next spotted hours later on a subway train in Manhattan, where passengers recognized him from newspaper photographs and notified police.

He dashed across the tracks, switched trains and attacked a final passenger before he was grabbed by police who were in the subway car looking for him on the tracks.

The livery driver, Fitz Fullerton, spoke at the Wednesday hearing in a whisper because his voice box was damaged by Gelman.

"I just got caught up in this, this is my like third time ever seeing him and I hope he gets what he deserves," Fullerton said.

Gelman also made a brief statement, saying "I'm not the bad guy here," and that it wasn't his fault. He also said he was being followed by federal agents in an undercover investigation.

Gelman had previously said he wasn't guilty, was under medical supervision and his attorney, Edward Friedman, described his client's mental state as fragile.

But given the evidence and a psychiatrist's recent opinion that Gelman couldn't argue he was not guilty by reason of insanity, he decided he wanted to get out of his holding cell and start serving his time in a permanent facility, his lawyer said. No plea deal was offered.

On Tuesday, Gelman admitted trying to kill passenger Joseph Lozito on a train on Feb. 12 at the end of his two-day spree.

Police later recovered a bloody knife, three straight razor blades, a paring knife and $932.

When asked by police why the four victims had to die, Gelman said, "Because I said so," according to the documents.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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