Subway Slaying Charges Against Ex-Transit Worker DroppedCATHERINE CROCKER , Associated Press
Sep. 19, 1986 11:07 AM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ A man who said he was acting in self-defense when he shot a teen-ager to death on a Brooklyn subway train six years ago has been cleared of murder charges.
Austin Weekes, 29, was freed Thursday when a judge dismissed the second- degree murder charge against him. A grand jury had refused to indict him on the charge.
''I'm glad to be out. I'm glad to be released,'' Weekes said.
Weekes, of Brooklyn, was arrested Sept. 12 at Transit Authority headquarters when he showed up to collect his final paycheck. Weekes was hired by the agency in 1985 and worked as a subway train conductor but was let go because of what transit officials called a bad work record.
Weekes was charged with the April 13, 1980, shooting death of Terry Zilimbinakis, 17, of Brooklyn. At the time, Weekes was employed as a workers compensation claims clerk for the state.
Police said Weekes admitted shooting one of two teen-agers who were harassing him, but contended he fired in self-defense.
Weekes' lawyer, Harry H. Lipsig, said the youths were bothering two women on the train and when Weekes showed concern, one backed him to the door of the car.
Lipsig said that at ''a point where it was obvious Mr. Weekes could no longer avoid him, in self-defense he (Weekes) let loose with the gun he had on him.''
Detective Sgt. Louis Cosentino of the transit police said the investigation of the slaying languished until city police passed along a tip received in another case.
''My conscience was bothering me every now and then,'' Weekes said. ''I was afraid of losing my job, that's why I never said anything.''
Roy Innis, head of the Congress of Racial Equality, who also attended the news conference, said he asked Lipsig to represent Weekes after Bernhard Goetz called him.
Goetz, who is white, is accused of shooting four black youths he believed were menacing him when they asked him for $5 on a Manhattan subway in December 1984. Weekes is black; Zilimbinakis and the other youth aboard that train were white.
Lipsig said Weekes planned no legal action against the city.