The man suspected of stabbing and killing a college student who cut in line at a Midtown food cart told cops that the victim's brother put a knife to his neck moments before the fatal altercation. Ziad Tayeh, 26, is on trial for manslaughter after a 2006 dispute with 19-year-old victim Tyrone Noel Gibbons, his brother Shannon Gibbons, and a friend at the Halal Chicken and Gyro stand at 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue. After the three men cut in line, they exchanged words with Tayeh: "I was hungry," he told police during a videotaped confession screened for jurors. "They called me a punk!"

The Gibbons brothers and their friend drove off and Tayeh gave chase, stopping at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 52nd Street, where according to the suspect, Shannon Gibbons put a knife to his throat. That's when Tayeh pulled out his own knife — a punch knife with a four inch blade, according to the Post — and struck the victim. "I was scared," said Tayeh, who has claimed self-defense. "It was quick!" Later, he added: "I seen the blood on my hand … I didn't think I hurt him."

Prosecutors acknowledge the victim and his pals were wrong to cut in front of about 15 customers who had been waiting in line in the rain — but they didn't break the law. "They sneak up on the line to try to get their food a little faster," Assistant District Attorney Randolph Clarke told jurors. "Is that polite? No. But is it criminal? No."