The accused attacker, 30-year-old homeless man Naeem Davis, faced a judge for the first time Wednesday night as he was arraigned on second-degree murder with depraved indifference and second-degree attempted murder charges. Now, he is telling his side of the story.
Davis reportedly claims the man he pushed, 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, wouldn't leave him alone, an account not disputed by witnesses. The confrontation is believed to have started at the subway turnstile, and detectives are investigating whether Han jumped that turnstile and bumped into Davis.
Davis says Han then followed him onto the platform, where he repeatedly told Han to go away. Instead, he says Han continued to harass him. At some point during the verbal dispute, Davis allegedly shoved the victim in a manner that caused him to go flying onto the subway tracks.
The Q-train is not believed to have been anywhere near the station at the time of the shoving, though Davis admitted he stayed on the platform and saw Han get struck by the train. Officials say Han was on the tracks for 22 seconds before the train arrived.
Officials are awaiting toxicology reports on the victim, who had an empty pint bottle of vodka on him at the time of his death.
"It's not great to be drunk and angry on the subway platform," defense attorney Stephen Pokart said. "If, in fact, he was drunk and angry, and still drinking from that vodka bottle, and according to what the reporter tells me Mr. Davis told the press earlier on, Mr. Davis defending himself, there very well may be two sides to the story."
As Davis walked past reporters in court Wednesday night, he stated that Han had grabbed him first and pushed him.
"He attacked me," Davis said.
Investigators picked up Davis at 50th Street and Seventh Avenue, just a block from the 49th Street subway station where the incident happened on Monday.
Davis had been described as mentally ill or emotionally disturbed, but authorities say has no known mental illness history and that he had enough sense to try and change his appearance after the crime took place.
Police used surveillance video from commercial establishments to spot Davis, who reportedly was known to work with street vendors near the scene.
The funeral for Han, who leaves behind a wife and daughter, was held in Queens on Wednesday. His wife says the couple had a fight about 90 minutes before the incident.
Davis reportedly has eight prior arrests, including several in Pennsylvania. He was denied bail and is due back in court next week.
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