Brett Knight pleads not guilty to Ross Reisner's 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) (Credit: Pool)

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The longtime friend and former tenant of a well-known horseman shot dead last month in his Setauket home appeared in a Suffolk courtroom Wednesday morning, pleading not guilty to murder charges.

Brett C. Knight, 45, of Manhattan, was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury last week on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and three counts of aggravated harassment -- all in connection with the shooting death of well-known equestrian Ross Reisner, 50, and the wounding of Reisner's longtime partner, Kevin Murray.

Knight, the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the Sept. 24 shootings at the Setauket home where he once rented an apartment from Reisner, was arrested earlier this month by local and federal authorities at a home in eastern Tennessee. During that arrest, law enforcement officials said two guns also were recovered -- one of them the weapon used to murder Reisner.

Knight was ordered held without bail.

Authorities have said Knight confessed to killing Reisner.

Reisner, 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 8:45 p.m. Sept. 24, police said. Authorities said Knight fired 11 shots from a handgun through a window, striking Reisner once in the chest. Another bullet grazed the arm of his partner, Murray.

Police haven't provided a motive for the shooting.

Authorities recovered two Smith & Wesson handguns in the room he had sublet, said Capt. Michael Hodges of the Sevier County Sheriff Department, which assisted in the arrest. It's believed Knight bought the guns in Utah, Hodges said. He said Knight had been living in the Sevier County house for about a week after answering an online ad.

After the shooting, police launched a nationwide manhunt for Knight, who waived extradition after his capture and was brought to Long Island on Oct. 10. Knight had known Reisner and Murray for more than two decades and rented the couple's basement apartment for a couple of years, according to Reisner's brother.

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