CENTRAL ISLIP - An attorney for the suspect in a fatal stabbing near a Babylon ballfield claims his client was attacked and was apparently acting in self-defense.
The stabbing happened on Locust Avenue just after 12 p.m Saturday, near where a Little League team was playing ball. Police say 28-year-old Michael Grusel, of Bablyon, stabbed 20-year-old James Moran to death.
An eyewitness reported the altercation to an off-duty cop who was attending the Little League game. The cop was able to subdue Grusel with help from other bystanders until police arrived.
Grusel's attorney says his client was attacked. He claims Grusel and the victim got into a dispute in another location, where Grusel was thrown into water. He says a second dispute then occurred at the ballfield, where Moran was stabbed.
The lawyer added that Grusel has suffered from mental health issues for years. He says his client has been bullied in the past and once had his bike stolen from the park where the stabbing happened.
Grusel, who has a criminal history, was arraigned in Central Islip court today on a charge of first-degree manslaughter. In court, the prosecutor told the judge that the stabbing was seen by multiple eyewitnesses.
Marlissa Fermin, who identified herself as Moran's godmother, sobbed in court with her family as Grusel was arraigned.
"We're not going to see him anymore," she said of the victim. "He's not going to come to our house and eat... This is a life. We love him." Fermin says she and her family just want justice.
Grusel was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail. He is due back in court on Friday.