Goetz' Fate in Jury's Hands

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NEW YORK CITY: Attorneys delivered closing arguments in Darrell Cabey's $50 million civil suit against Bernard Goetz. The prosecution alleges that the 'subway vigilante,' as Goetz has come to be known, was motivated by racism and his hatred boiled over in his 1986 shooting of four black men in a New York subway. Cabey survived the incident, but was left paralyzed and with brain damage. Cabey attorney Ronald Kuby asked jurors to make sure that Goetz, left practically penniless by his legal bills, never became a wealthy man. Kuby reminded jurors of a reference by Goetz in 1980 to "spics and niggers," and of his comments that he intended to kill the men. Goetz' attorney Darnay Hoffman mounted an interesting defense, saying that his client probably deserved a punch in the mouth for his comments. But in the subway that day, Hoffman said, Goetz was motivated by fear, not racism. He reminded jurors of testimony by Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin, who said Cabey told him that he and his friends were going to rob Goetz because he looked like "easy bait." Goetz himself says he was sure he was about to be robbed when four young black men approached him in the subway, asking for money. In response, he says, he "snapped" and began shooting them. The four men have said that they were just panhandling. The jury will begin deliberations Tuesday.