Prosecutors seek to try movie theater stabbing suspect as adultPosted: Updated:
The 16-year-old suspect in a Yonkers movie theater stabbing pleaded not guilty to murder charges at his arraignment Monday as prosecutors sought to have him tried as an adult.
Family members attended in a show of support for Michael Pettiford, who faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and robbery in connection with a fatal stabbing at the Ridge Hill Movie Theatre on April 15.
Pettiford allegedly challenged Day-J Thomas, an employee of the movie theater, to a fight. Thomas initially declined.
But prosecutors say that's when Pettiford took Thomas' cellphone. There was a tussle over the phone, and ultimately, Thomas died of a stab wound to the chest.
"Michael is a kid," says a woman who identified herself as his grandmother, who declined to give her name. "He's a kid growing up in Yonkers."
The woman says prosecutors have the story wrong. By her account, Pettiford and several friends went to the theater on a triple date and the worker, who may have had a history with Pettiford or his friends, started the fight.
Pettiford also changed lawyers at his arraignment hearing. His former attorney told News 12 it was a financial decision.
The suspect is due back in court July 12.