Prosecutors seek to try movie theater stabbing suspect as adult

Posted: Updated:
WHITE PLAINS -

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.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."