Goetz Pleads Innocent to Subway Shooting Charges

Associated Press

Bernhard Goetz pleaded innocent today to charges stemming from his shooting of four youths on a subway train, and his lawyer was granted a delay in the trial that Goetz hopes "will end the controversy."

Goetz's court appearance came one day after he was indicted on four counts of attempted murder by the second grand jury to investigate the Dec. 22 shootings.

The first grand jury indicted Goetz, 37, only for felony weapons possession charges.

During the arraignment, Judge Stephen Crane kept Goetz's bail at $5,000, rejecting a prosecutor's request that it be raised to $20,000.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Gregory Waples said higher bail was warranted because the new charges are "substantially more serious." But he added, "I concede the defendant has faithfully appeared in court whenever required."

Barry Slotnick, Goetz's lawyer, said his client "has nowhere to go, judge. You're looking at, unfortunately, the best-known face in the country. He couldn't flee."

Goetz said he shot the youths in self-defense after one of them "demanded" $5. One of the teenagers said he told the second grand jury he was merely trying to panhandle Goetz.

In addition to attempted murder, the second grand jury charged Goetz with four counts of fourth-degree assault, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

"It's probably all for the best. Everything now should come out in the open, with time, and that will end the controversy," Goetz said.

Slotnick was granted 45 days to prepare a motion to throw out the indictment.

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