Nassau County police respond the scene of the fatal stabbing, which occurred...

Nassau County police respond the scene of the fatal stabbing, which occurred at Terrace and Fulton avenues in Hempstead on June 28, 2020. Credit: Jim Staubitser

Circumstantial evidence that includes video from around the scene of a deadly stabbing will prove Keith Pooler ended the life of a man he met on a Hempstead street corner, a prosecutor said Thursday.

But Pooler’s attorney told jurors during opening statements in the defendant’s Nassau County Court murder trial that his client was the victim of mistaken identity.

“You’re going to see tremendous holes and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case,” defense lawyer Christopher Graziano said.

Police arrested Pooler, 56, of Hewlett, about two weeks after victim Andre Garry bled to death from a single stab wound to his heart.

The crime happened around 9 p.m. on June 28, 2020, on the corner of Terrace and Fulton avenues.

Law enforcement officials have alleged Pooler stabbed Garry, 49, of West Hempstead, after a verbal altercation.

The deadly interaction wasn’t caught on video.

But a man and a woman who were out walking that summer night saw the victim and a man in a red shirt standing close together — with no one else around — before the victim collapsed as he started to bleed, according to the prosecution.

Police later used surveillance video to retrace the movements of Pooler, who was seen on video that night wearing a red shirt close to where the crime occurred.

They tracked Pooler's journey from a bus stop in Hewlett to Hempstead, including as he walked in the area of the killing — both before and after the crime, according to prosecutor Michelle Lewisohn.

She said video evidence included Pooler walking toward where police recovered the alleged murder weapon in the grass by a Verizon building. The blade had the victim's blood on it, according to the prosecutor.

Pooler went into the Verizon building's lobby after the stabbing and as police were starting to investigate, Lewisohn told jurors.

She said detectives later tracked down a taxi driver who had picked up Pooler at the Hempstead bus station that night and took him to a West Hempstead street that was a match to the address on his identification.

Police then found Pooler living in a Hewlett apartment and recovered a red Nike "Just Do It" shirt there, Lewisohn said.

“The defendant is the man in the red shirt. This man is the killer,” she told jurors of Pooler.

But Graziano countered that no witnesses would testify that Pooler had been seen with a knife or had been seen stabbing the victim.

The couple who saw the interaction between the victim and the assailant never pointed out Pooler “as even a possible perpetrator” to police while he was nearby after the stabbing, Graziano said.

The Mineola defense attorney also said the bloody knife that police recovered had the DNA of at least two unknown people on the handle — but not his client’s.

No scientific evidence links Pooler to the crime, Graziano added.

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