As unbelievable as Minor's story may sound, prosecutors in Manhattan are apparently buying it, as is evident in a recent letter Assistant District Attorney Peter Casolaro sent to Daniel Gotlin, Minor's attorney. "Certain information has been discovered which tends to lend some support to [the assisted-suicide] claim," Casolaro wrote.
Gotlin is now asking Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman to order a grand jury to consider downgrading Minor's first-degree murder charge to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
The case in question dates back to July 16. On that day, police found Locker, 52, dead inside his 2007 Dodge Magnum, which was parked at an East Harlem housing project. A cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and he had suffered multiple stab wounds, piercing his heart, lungs and liver. Minor was arrested the following week, after police obtained surveillance footage that showed him inside Locker's car.
Minor, 36, admitted to killing Locker but claimed Locker had approached him at random and asked him to do it, in exchange for his ATM card. Minor said Locker told him he was deeply in debt and wanted to die so that his family could collect on an $18 million life insurance policy.
"It had to look like a robbery so that his family could get what they deserve," Minor said, according to court papers.
Minor said he attempted to choke Locker with a wire but it kept breaking, so Locker instructed him to use a knife.
"He said to hold it against the steering wheel with the blade facing him. I did that, and he leaned forward into the knife three to four times while I held it," Minor said. "He then told me to move the knife over to the other side where his heart is. I moved the knife over and he leaned forward into it a couple of more times. At that point, he was alive and breathing heavily. I got out of the car and threw the knife."
The prosecution and defense are expected to present case law on assisted suicide to Berkman on Feb. 25.
Telephone calls to Casolaro and Gotlin were not immediately returned.