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Long IslandCrime

LI crime briefs

BRENTWOOD / Cops: Machete-slasher charged

Two men who police said know each other got into an argument late Sunday in Brentwood - an argument that ended when one man slashed the other with a machete.

Suffolk County police said the victim was admitted to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore with "severe lacerations" but the wounds were nonlife-threatening.

The incident occurred at about 11 p.m. outside a home at 147 Riddle St., police said.

Police arrested the resident of that house, Andres Umana-Argueta, 27, charging him with second-degree assault.

Police did not say what caused the argument.

- John Valenti

New York City / Suicide-by-hire jurors dismissed

More than a half-dozen potential jurors were excused Monday from the murder trial of Kenneth Minor for the killing of Woodmere motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker because of reservations about sitting on a case involving assisted suicide.

The concerns on the first day of jury selection ran the gamut. Some jurors said personal encounters with suicide would make the experience too emotional, some cited religious scruples about suicide, and others worried about interfering with another person's wish to die.

"I am troubled by the idea of convicting someone who was asked to kill someone else," one of the excused jurors, former Newsday staff writer Daniel Cryer, told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman.

Both sides agree that Locker, 52, awash in debts, drove to Harlem and recruited Minor, 37, to help kill him in July 2009 so his family could cash in on life insurance. Minor says he just held a knife while Locker lunged into it.

Minor is charged with second-degree murder. In New York's criminal code, "causing or aiding" another person's suicide is manslaughter, not murder, but the meaning of that phrase is at the center of the trial.

Berkman has ruled that it only covers "passive" assistance, and told prospective jurors Monday that "suicide is self-killing, not killing by someone else."

That prompted a mistrial request from Daniel Gotlin, Minor's lawyer, who said "causing or aiding" is broad enough to include participation by someone else in a killing.

Berkman denied the motion. Jury selection continues Tuesday.

- John Riley

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