Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lemrick Nelson stabbed in the head with ice pick, 19 years after knifing Hasidic student to death in riots 

Nineteen years after he knifed a Hasidic student to death in the notorious Crown Heights race riots, Lemrick Nelson was stabbed in the head with an ice pick Sunday.

Nelson, 35, was in stable condition at Harlem Hospital.

Police said he was found lying unconscious on a ramp from the George Washington Bridge to Riverside Drive near W. 168th St. just after 2 a.m. He had been alone in his car, which was found nearby.

Police sources said he may have been stabbed as much as an hour earlier in a traffic dispute.

On Aug. 19, 1991, Nelson, then 16, was one of a group of young black men who rampaged through Crown Heights after Yosef Lifsh, a 22-year-old Hasidic Jew, accidentally ran down and killed Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old Guyanese boy.

The group threw rocks and bottles, then surrounded Yankel Rosenbaum, 29, a Jewish doctoral student from Australia.

Rosenbaum was stabbed several times in the back. Before he died, he identified Nelson as his attacker.

Three days of riots followed, exposing long-simmering tensions between the black and Jewish communities in Crown Heights.

Nelson, who years later admitted that he stabbed Rosenbaum, was acquitted at his first murder trial and walked away from a second trial that ended in a hung jury.

He was convicted in federal court of violating Rosenbaum's civil rights and served 10 years. He left prison in 2004.

In May, Nelson was quoted as saying that he had a toddler daughter and was living the quiet life of a sober family man in Hillside, N.J.

He went by "Ricky" and his neighbors did not know about his past at the heart of one of the city's darkest days.


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