Two and a half years after the murder of Glenn Wright by an alleged gang member, the trial finally got underway yesterday. As you may recall, Wright was 21-years-old when he was fatally stabbed in the neck at the Lower East Side Baruch Houses. He had stepped outside to get some fresh air and take a break from washing his grandmother's windows when a group of men approached him. Prosecutors say the gang was looking for revenge for an earlier attack, and his alleged killer, Joel Herrera, 20, told detectives he confused Wright with someone who assaulted one of his friends.
Wright's father Peter witnessed his son's murder, and tackled one of the suspects after a chase. He told the News, "I saw guys running and I ran after them. Then I saw my son. He was at the right place at the wrong time. He lost so much blood." According to his family, Wright was enrolled in Borough of Manhattan Community College, and spent most of his time caring for his teenage brother, who has Down syndrome. In high school, Wright had distinguished himself by participating in an after-school robotics team that went to the national finals. His teacher told the Times, "In this profession, you’re not supposed to have favorites, but he was probably my favorite."
Herrera is currently the only one on trial, for murder in the second degree, but a spokesperson for the Manhattan DA's office tells us Jason Quijano and Alan Silva are both scheduled to go to trial on March 14th. (Silva is charged with Murder in the Second Degree. Quijano is charged with Manslaughter in the First Degree.) This morning the jury heard an alleged gang member's phone call to the defendant, and two police officers who responded to the murder testified.
In the afternoon, a doctor at Bellevue Hospital testified about his futile attempts to save Wright's life when he arrived "just about dead" on September 12th, 2009. The DA also summoned an expert witness from their High Tech Analysis Unit who testified about cell phone calls placed from Herrara's phone the evening of the murder—using data from cell phone towers, investigators were able to narrow down his location when the calls were made.
Wright's family was in the courtroom and wore buttons with Wright’s photo that read "In Loving Memory: Glenn Wright." Asked why it took so long for case to come to trial, Wright's sister Karina Rodriguez said, "We were told that’s just the nature of the court system, waiting to find a judge, a trial date, a DA. It was a matter of everyone becoming available. We would get dates about when the trial would start," and then the trial would be moved back. "It was emotional," Rodriguez told us. "We would summon the courage to be here. It was emotional aerobics, not knowing when it was going to happen." Wright's brother Peter added, "Hopefully this is the beginning of justice and healing for the family."
(Additional reporting by Rebecca Fishbein)