Suspects arraigned in Levin's slaying
Ex-student denies shooting teacherJune 8, 1997
Web posted at: 6:13 p.m. EDT (2213 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The two men charged in the murder of New York teacher Jonathan Levin were arraigned Sunday in Manhattan court.
Corey Arthur, a 19-year-old paroled crack dealer and former student of Levin, was charged with first-degree murder and robbery. Montoun Hart, 25, was charged with second-degree murder and robbery.
Both defendants were denied bail and did not enter pleas Sunday. They will be back in court Thursday when an indictment is expected to be announced.
Levin, 31, was found dead Monday in his Upper West Side apartment. He had been bound, stabbed and shot. Cash and an ATM card were missing from his wallet.
According to the court complaint, Arthur used Levin's ATM card at an automatic teller machine a few blocks from Levin's apartment to withdraw $800, and Arthur's fingerprints were found on the duct tape used in the crime.
Levin was the son of Gerald Levin, chairman of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.
Arthur, the suspected trigger man, could face the death penalty if convicted, although Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has not indicated whether he will seek execution.
The chief counsel for Arthur, Anthony Ricco, told CNN that his client is innocent of Levin's murder. "He is a very frightened 19-year-old," Ricco said.
The attorney added that he is "proceeding with the case as though it is a death penalty case."
Ricco also said he would challenge the veracity of the statements Hart made to the police. If the statements are admitted, Ricco said, he will move for a separate trial.
According to Hart's statement to police, he agreed to go with Arthur, saying his long-time friend "made me do it at gunpoint." A source close to the case said Hart put the gun in Arthur's hand.
But Arthur told police he did not know Hart. He claimed that after he got to Levin's apartment, "two other men entered and one of them brandished a gun and the other brandished a knife" and they ordered Arthur to bind Levin with duct tape, which he admitted doing.
Arthur said he struggled with the man with the knife, ran out of the apartment and only learned later of Levin's death.
Arthur once attended a remedial English class taught by Levin at William H. Taft High School in the Bronx.
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