Authorities: Confession in Setauket horseman slaying

Brett C. Knight, 45, escorted into the Sixth Brett C. Knight, 45, escorted into the Sixth Precinct in Selden for arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court. Knight is charged with murder in the shooting of well-known Long Island horseman Ross Reisner. (Oct. 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Pool

advertisement | advertise on newsday

A captured fugitive who was a friend and former tenant of a well-known Setauket horseman has confessed to fatally shooting him in his home last month, according to Suffolk authorities.

Brett C. Knight, 45, of Manhattan, fired 11 shots from a .45-caliber handgun through a window, killing Ross Reisner, Suffolk prosecutor Raphael Pearl said Friday in First District Court in Central Islip.

The one-page criminal complaint filed in the case states only that Knight made "oral admissions . . . that he shot the victim." Knight, facing a second-degree murder charge, had a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf and was ordered held without bail.

Pearl did not provide a motive in the shooting or say whether the murder weapon was one of two handguns recovered from a home in eastern Tennessee where Knight was captured by federal marshals this week. He was brought back to New York on Thursday.

Reisner, 50, considered a fixture in the Island's equestrian community, was in his home on Upper Sheep Pasture Road when shots were fired from outside at about 8:45 p.m. on Sept. 24, police said.

Reisner was hit once in the chest; another bullet grazed the arm of his partner, Kevin Murray.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Knight said nothing and stood with his hands handcuffed behind his back during his brief arraignment Friday. He is scheduled to return Wednesday, when his attorney, Michael J. Brown of Central Islip, plans to request bail.

If there is a confession in the case, police and prosecutors haven't divulged any details, Brown said afterward.

"I don't have the alleged confession," he said. "I have not seen anything, other than the felony complaint. . . . From my limited knowledge, I think they're going to have some serious problems establishing the guilt of my client."

Knight, a former American Express manager, had known Reisner and Murray for more than two decades and rented the couple's basement apartment for a couple of years, relatives of the victim have said.

"There is really no incentive or motive to cause any type of injuries to them," Brown said, adding that his client is "distraught" and mourning Reisner's death.

Asked if Knight ever had a romantic relationship with Reisner or Murray, Brown declined to answer directly. "Those things are important," he said. "They're gonna come out down the road, but I think they'll be an important part of the defense."

In August, Knight was charged with second-degree harassment, a misdemeanor, after Murray filed a complaint with police alleging that Knight had harassed him by calling and sending him texts.

Knight's failure to come to court on Sept. 4 to answer that charge prompted a judge to issue an arrest warrant.

Judge Gaetan B. Lozito said Friday she could not arraign Knight on the harassment charge because the case is under seal at the requests of prosecutors.

You also may be interested in: