Shortly after a young Islip man was bludgeoned, choked and buried alive in a swampy grave, the man now on trial charged with second-degree murder called police to report he'd been assaulted, an officer testified Thursday in Riverhead.
Suffolk Officer Jamel Boswell said the mother of defendant Thomas Liming greeted him when he arrived after 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2011, and said her son, now 23, had been beaten up. Boswell asked her to get him and when she did, he said he took note of Liming's lack of injuries.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl, Boswell said Liming had no limp. There were no marks on his face or eyes. Neither his nose nor mouth were swollen or red. He displayed no signs of pain. And although his hair was disheveled, Boswell said there was no sign of matted blood in his hair. "He told me he met a friend that night," Boswell said. "He hadn't seen him for a long time. He said that friend beat him up. He said he was scared of that friend."
Liming said he wanted to show him a bruise and pulled up his sleeve. Boswell said he saw nothing.
At that point, Liming's mother, Kim Liming, reappeared while talking on a phone. "My lawyer says my son can't talk to you," she said, according to Boswell. "Tom, stop talking."
On his way out, Boswell said he asked Liming's sister if she knew what was going on. She got an Islip High School yearbook, opened it and pointed to a photo of Kyle Underhill, Liming's friend.
By then, Underhill was lying in a watery grave with two sticks shoved deep in his mouth.
The next day, by coincidence, Boswell was sent to take a missing-person report from Underhill's mother, Aimee Underhill-Catanzaro. When she provided a photo of her son, Boswell said he immediately recognized it as the same one Liming's sister had shown him.
Liming's defense has not contested that he killed Underhill, but has suggested he was justified. Earlier Thursday, defense attorney Joseph Corozzo questioned Underhill's co-worker, Ashley Genovez, about how she characterized Underhill and Liming when she saw them at Manhattan Sweets Boutique Bakery shortly before Underhill was killed.
During questioning by prosecutors, Genovez said Underhill was "agitated" that day as he put things down "abruptly," and that when Liming arrived he was "mysterious" and tried to hide his face. She said Underhill briefly stuck his finger in Liming's face when he arrived.
Until Corozzo reminded her, she said she didn't recall Underhill shoving Liming up against a walk-in refrigerator. And she told Corozzo that she had earlier described Underhill as "angry" and said he was slamming doors and buckets at the bakery.
She also said she had never before described Liming as "mysterious," but only because no one had asked her.
Before Liming arrived, Genovez said Underhill muttered, "I'm going to kill this kid. I'm going to jail for murder."