Kenneth Minor, the convicted killer of North Woodmere resident Jeffrey Locker, will be retried for the 2009 murder, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said. Minor was convicted in March 2011 and has served about two years of his 20 years to life sentence.
On Oct. 3 of this year, the state appeals court ruled that the trial judge now retired Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman; instruction to the jury “was confusing and conveyed the wrong standard.” According to the appellate judges the instruction effectively “mandated a dire ted verdict of guilt” on the murder charge.
Vance had three options, he could try Minor for murder again, accept a plea to manslaughter or request that the state’s highest court review the case. The DA’s office made public its decision at a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court on Dec. 12.
Locker, a motivational speaker, was shown during the initial trial to be in substantial debt, and shortly before he was killed had purchased a $12 million life insurance policy and had a total of $18 million in life insurance. Neither policy would pay out for suicide.
Minor told police that Locker wanted to escape from his financial problems and sought to have the “suicide” look like a murder. Minor said that Locker promised him his ATM card in exchange for killing him. Locker was found dead in an East Harlem housing project, tied up and with multiple stab wounds to his abdomen on July 16, 2009.
According to prosecutor Peter Casolaro, the DA’s office will seek an indictment on both a murder and manslaughter charge. Then present both charges to a jury at the retrial. The maximum sentence for the second-degree manslaughter charge is 7 1/2 to 15 years. Minor offered to serve 4 to 8 years in a proposed plea deal.
The retrial is scheduled to begin Feb. 13. No bail was set for Minor.