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Chelsea Murder Suspect Beat Another Man Outside Club, Prosecutors Say

By Mathew Katz | November 3, 2011 1:05pm
Manuel Pinero, 41, is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Sept. 29, 2011.
Manuel Pinero, 41, is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Sept. 29, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — The club promoter accused of fatally stabbing a Morningside Heights father outside a Chelsea nightclub brutally beat another man outside another nightclub in 1996, prosecutors said Thursday.

Authorities have charged Manuel Pinero, 41, with the second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Adames, 23, outside of the Juliet Supperclub in September. Pinero has one previous conviction on his record — he pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded firearm in 1996, and was sentenced to probation.

At his arraignment Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Christine Keenan said that plea came after police said Pinero and two others seriously injured a man outside a Manhattan nightclub. The name of the club was not immediately known.

"This defendant severely beat a man and was stopped fleeing that scene," she said. The victim suffered damage to his internal organs including his kidneys, according to prosecutors.

Pinero's lawyer, Michael Dowd, scoffed at the suggestion that the alleged 1996 beating was so serious.

"Those just aren't the charges reflected in the plea," Dowd said. "If the beatings were so severe, he would have gone away."

Pinero, who also goes by the club promoter name "Manny Stax," has been in custody since turning himself in two days after the murder.

At Thursday's hearing, Dowd asked the Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ronald Zweibel to set a reasonable bail because both Pinero's mother and brother, who were in the audience, are disabled and rely on him for support.

Dowd also disputed prosecutors' claims that Pinero is a flight risk because he has access to significant assets, including a house purchased for $1.3 million in New Jersey and two luxury cars. He claimed that the house was purchased during the real estate boom and has become a victim of the bust.

"Last year, [Pinero] paid taxes on $75,000 in income. The year before, he paid $125,000," Dowd said. "[The house] is all in mortages and loans, and it's a worthless piece [of land] because of it."

Prosecutors responded by pointing out the severity of the second-degree murder charges, and that Pinero's two luxury cars, purchased recently, are worth more than $80,000 each.

"$75,000-a-year doesn't seem to be supported by the defendant's lifestyle," Keenan said.

Judge Zweibel did not immediately set bail for Pinero, but allowed Dowd until Dec. to file a motion asking for it.