The man accused of fatally stabbing an Amityville man near a Little League field in Babylon was ordered held on $1 million bond Sunday.
Michael Grusel, 28, of Babylon, was charged with first-degree manslaughter after, prosecutors said, he fatally stabbed James Moran, 20, in the chest Saturday. Grusel, who is due back in court Thursday, faces 5 to 25 years in prison if convicted.
At the arraignment before Judge Ann Spelman in First District Court in Central Islip, a teenage girl began to sob loudly after officers led Grusel, wearing a white jail jumpsuit, into the courtroom.
Prosecutors had asked that his bail be set at $2 million and said Grusel was seen stabbing Moran in the chest.
Prosecutors also said Grusel has a violent criminal history, as well as charges of driving while intoxicated and attempted criminal mischief.
Grusel's attorney, Robert Macedonio of Central Islip, said afterward that his client has a long history of mental illness and had been bullied.
He also said Grusel has been in and out of inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment for seven years. Macedonio painted a picture of a young man with mental illness who most recently had his bicycle stolen from him.
Moran was living in Florida and had returned to Long Island three months ago to visit his 2-year-old daughter, said his sister, Julianique Enfahredd Harris, 28, of Jacksonville, Florida.
"He was a typical childish 20-year-old boy," she said. "He just got a certificate in security, trying to get him a good job. He wanted to become a police officer and everybody knew him as 'Chris Brown look-alike.' "
She said her brother was living in Babylon with his fiancee and their daughter and they were making plans to move back to Florida.
"He just texted my mom that he proposed to her two days ago," Harris said. "She was so happy for him."
But Macedonio said Grusel was acting in self-defense when he stabbed Moran. Macedonio said his client claims he was fleeing and had actually been attacked by Moran and another individual before the deadly fight.
"Our preliminary investigation is that our client may be the victim in this matter," Macedonio said.
Macedonio said Grusel was assaulted and thrown into a lake and was being chased. The attorney said it's unclear how Grusel obtained the weapon or why he was carrying one.
Harris, though, said her brother may have been typecast because of his appearance.
"It seems like that because he wears tattoos and wears fitted hats, that he's a violent person," she said. "He's been out trying to find ways to better himself for his daughter and his fiancee Kenesha."
Harris said her brother kept in touch with his mother on a daily basis and that he is one of 15 siblings in the blended family.
She said her family is raising money to transport Moran to Florida so he could be cremated and given a memorial ceremony. "My husband is like, if we have to pawn our wedding rings to get him here, we'll do that. We need to bring him home for my mom," Harris said.