Almost two years ago, right in the early days of the smoking ban, a bouncer at Guernica was stabbed after fighting with patrons who wanted to smoke. Yesterday, the attacker, Isaias Umali, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for killing Dana Blake. Last fall, Umali's defense team claimed his actions were heroic, because the bouncer was strangling his friend; this didn't work, as Umali was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors said that Umali was dangerous because he was an expert in the Filipino knife fighting, and the judge agreed, noting that Umali's knife, a 6" serrated deal, was "the deadliest knife I've ever seen in a courtroom. There can be no other purpose (for the knife) but to injure or kill somebody."
And Daniel Rakowitz, known as the butcher of the East Village after he dismembered and allegedly cooked his girlfriend in 1989, was denied release from his psychiatric hospital. Last summer, Rakowitz went to court in an attempt to prove he was not insane. The case was notorious because it seemed to exemplify how the East Village was a place of squalor: