By Olivia Scheck, Jeff Mays and Tom Liddy
BRONX - Tragic East Harlem football star Isayah Muller's dad sparked the nasty fight in a Bronx parking garage that left his son dead just hours after his graduation, prosecutors charged.
And cops say that the parking attendants, one of whom fatally stabbed Isayah, are no longer in custody. It is not clear if they will be charged.
At his arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court Wednesday, Andre Muller wore a shirt that his defense lawyer said was stained with his son's blood.
According to prosecutors, he and his family had headed off to a celebration on City Island after his son's graduation from Truman HS Tuesday, which took place at Lehman College.
When Andre couldn't find a bottle of expensive cologne he had left in the car earlier in the day, he headed back to the garage where the family had parked during the commencement ceremony, M.T. Jerome Town Corp., at 2801 Jerome Ave.
Prosecutors say he went to the office to confront the attendants. After that he allegedly grabbed a snow shovel and started beating an unarmed attendant.
At the same time, the son started fighting with the other worker, who stabbed the boy in the chest in the fracas, which was caught on surveillance tape.
Andre Muller, 40, first brought his 19-year-old son to a nearby clinic before he was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital where he died.
Prosecutor David Greenfield said that while the alleged stabber stayed at the scene and called 911, Isayah's father, who has convictions for robbery and drug sale, tried to run from cops at the hospital.
But the defense team said that Isayah and his father were merely trying to protect themselves in the encounter, which was caught on video.
"It was self-defense. He and his son were attacked first," said Lawrence Fredella. After court he said that one of the attendants had a knife and the other had a machete.
"[The attendants] hurled racial epithets at them and attacked his son."
He also denied the prosecutors' contention that Andre fled from cops.
Muller was released on bail on assault, menacing and weapons possession charges.
"He's very upset," said Fredella. "He was very close to his son."
The attendant who was allegedly attacked with the shovel had to get 10 stitches to his arm. The other was uninjured.
The fact that the attendants hadn't been arrested enraged the Mullers' neighbors at the Jefferson Houses.
"That's wrong! How do you charge the father when his car was robbed and his son was stabbed in the chest?" said Shawna Burgess, 27, who knows the family.
"They have to charge [the attendants]...For him to graduate and then get stabbed like that is wrong."
And Sabrina Wright, 37, said that it would take more than a bottle of cologne to spark the fight.
"It was probably more than a bottle of cologne," she said. "I don't think it would have escalated over a bottle of cologne to the point where they lost somebody."
"There's something more to that story."