The murder trial of WABC newscaster George Weber was declared a mistrial on Wednesday — and friends and neighbors of the Carroll Gardens broadcaster were left feeling like another crime had been committed.
Prosecutors say that John Katehis stabbed Weber 50 times after a kinky sex romp went awry — but the jury in the case deadlocked after two and a half days of deliberation failed to convince the last holdout.
“This is more than an outrage,” Canarsie native, Guardian Angels founder and radio host Curtis Sliwa said after Judge Neil Firetog dismissed the jury. “George was stabbed over 50 times, and this jury couldn’t conclude that this kid was trying to kill him? Clearly this guy was completely out of control.”
Katehis, a resident of Queens, remains in jail pending a second trial.
Katehis met Weber in March, 2009, through a Craigslist ad. The teen agreed to come to the older man’s apartment, between Carroll and President streets, knowing he would be paid for sex.
In a videotaped confession, Katehis giggled as he recalled Weber’s desires to be bound and smothered. But things got out of control — and horribly gory — when Weber pulled a knife, Katehis claimed.
“I got paranoid. I went to grab the knife; he was supposed to be smothered, not [do] something with a knife,” Katehis said before pointing to his throat. “The knife just goes in and jabs him in the neck.”
Katehis said he stabbed Weber once, but a city medical examiner determined that the newscaster had been stabbed 50 times.
Throughout the trial, Katehis’s lawyer made an issue out of Weber’s alleged interest in bondage and rough sex. He also claimed that the newscaster had plied the teen with booze and cocaine before taking him to his bedroom.
“Weber wanted him to do some funky stuff,” lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz said.
Yet these revelations did little to taint Sliwa’s memory of the 47-year-old Weber, known for 10 years was “the news guy” on WABC’s “Curtis and Kuby” morning show. Sliwa said he will also fondly remember how Weber “was obsessed with his adopted neighborhood, Carroll Gardens.”
“You’d see him at Angry Wade and at all the restaurants,” said Sliwa. “He loved Brooklyn.”
Carroll Gardens residents said they, too, were stunned by the verdict.
“This is unreal,” said First Place resident Nicholas Cinalli. “[Schwartz] must be some kind of Houdini. If I ever go up for murder, I want him by my side.”