Subway shooting figure Bernhard Goetz pleaded innocent today to illegal weapons charges and a Manhattan judge ordered his bail reduced from $50,000 to $5,000 because an attempted murder charge has been dropped.
At Goetz's arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, Judge Stephen Crane ruled that the confessed subway gunman's bail be reduced because of "the stark contrast" between the current charges of illegal possession of three guns and the preliminary attempted murder charge he had faced when the $50,000 bail was set.
Goetz, accused of shooting and seriously wounding four youths who asked him for $5 on a subway train Dec. 22, stood quietly with his head bowed during the court proceeding. The 37-year-old electronics specialist entered and left the courthouse through side entrances.
A Manhattan grand jury last month refused to indict Goetz for attempted murder, opting instead to charge him with illegal weapons possession.
Outside the courtroom, about 20 protesters carried placards and chanted, "Bernhard Goetz you can't hide, we charge you with genocide."
The group also distributed leaflets accusing Goetz of being a "racist murderer" and charging that the news media had generated "lynch-mob hysteria."
The Guardian Angels, a citizens' crime-fighting group, were on hand to support the so-called "Death Wish" vigilante.