MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A Bronx man charged with brutally strangling and then robbing a 90-year-old holocaust survivor was found guilty of murder Wednesday.
After fewer than two days of deliberations, the jury found Aljulah Cutts, 30, guilty of first-degree murder for killing Felix Brinkmann, a onetime New York City disco owner and Auschwitz survivor, who refused to give up the combination of his personal safes to Cutts, even after enduring gruesome beatings. Cutts was also found guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
As the verdict was read, relatives of Cutts, who sat with his head bowed, burst into tears. A woman identified as Cutt's mother collapsed onto the floor weeping, and said, "I love you," as her son was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
On July 30, 2009, Brinkmann, who co-founded the Upper East Side nightclub Adam's Apple —a disco known for popularizing "The Hustle" — was found bound and bludgeoned to death in his apartment on East 65th Street.
Throughout the more than two weeks of trial, prosecutors argued that Cutts, along with two accomplices — his brother Hasib, 33, and an alleged prostitute Angela Murray, 33 — made their way into Brinkmann's apartment in order to rob from the elderly man.
The attackers broke four of his ribs, choked him with a bed sheet and fractured his eye socket as they attempted to coerce him to give up the codes to his safes, prosecutors said. A coroner testified that eventually, Brinkmann died of strangulation.
Cutts confessed to the police, but his lawyer, Daniel Scott, argued that his client's confession was coerced.
Cutts is expected to be sentenced on June 20. A trial for Hasib Cutts trials is still pending, and it was unclear immediately where Murray's case stands.