Maksim Gelman (born May 31, 1987) is an
American responsible for a 28-hour killing spree lasting from February
11 to 12, 2011 in New York City, which involved the stabbing and
killing of four people and the wounding of at least five others.
Gelman's father had immigrated from Ukraine to the
United States in 1992 on a refugee status. Maksim and his mother
Svetlana joined him two years later and they all moved to New York.
Mother and son stayed in the United States even after Maksim's father
returned to Ukraine upon gaining U.S. citizenship. Maksim became a
U.S. citizen in 2005.
Maksim Gelman attended Abraham Lincoln High School
in Brooklyn, according to a former student there, though it is unclear
whether he managed to graduate. He was known around the school as
being a skateboarder. His unpopularity caused him to not have many
friends or girlfriends, which reportedly amplified psychotic
He built a record with law enforcement after being
arrested many times, mostly for graffiti-related offenses. Among
graffiti artists, the few who knew of him viewed him as a largely
unwanted troublemaker. Gelman, besides being a small-time dealer and
user of crack cocaine, prescription pills and PCP, had been arrested
for a number of charges, including possession of the drug and for
Timeline of attacks
Police reports state that on the morning of
February 11, 2011, Gelman stabbed and killed his mother's companion
Aleksandr Kuznetsov, in Brooklyn, after an argument with his mother
about driving Kuznetsov's vehicle. His mother was not physically hurt.
According to the reports' timeline, Gelman then
went to the house of a female acquaintance named Yelena Bulchenko,
where he killed her mother Anna. He then allegedly hid inside the
house, waiting for Yelena to return. When she came back six hours
later, Gelman chased her out of the home after she tried to dial 911.
He stabbed her eleven times, killing her, before speeding off in
Kuznetsov's car. He rammed another car, stabbed and injured its
driver, Arthur DiCrescento, and carjacked his vehicle. Gelman later
ran down 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tannenbaum, who subsequently
died of his injuries.
Gelman next stabbed and wounded a number of
individuals in various stages during the rampage, including Shelden
Pottinger, whose vehicle Gelman stole and drove off on. Finally, after
boarding a northbound 3 train at 34th Street - Penn Station, he
stabbed Joseph Lozito, a ticket seller at Lincoln Center. According to
some reports, Gelman started banging on the door of the motorman's
cab, demanding to be let in, at which point two police officers
assigned to the manhunt arrived and subdued him after a struggle with
According to other accounts, Lozito actively
defended himself, engaging Gelman in a physical confrontation that
allowed transit officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor, along with
off-duty Detective Marcelo Razzo, to subdue and restrain Gelman, who
was apprehended at Times Square - 42nd Street.
On February 13, 2011, Gelman was arraigned in a
Brooklyn courtroom on charges of murder and assault, where he was
represented by public defender Michael Baum. While being led from the
police precinct to the courthouse, in front of a crowd of onlooker and
reporters, Gelman reportedly showed no remorse, saying that he had
been "set up."
Although no motive for the murders has been yet
offered by the authorities, it has been speculated in the media that
the rampage was triggered by Gelman's advances being scorned by Yelena
On November 30, 2011, Gelman pleaded guilty to all
On January 18, 2012, Gelman appeared in the New
York Supreme Court, Kings County, for his sentencing. Sitting in court
next to his attorney, Edward Friedman, Gelman was reported as being
"unruly", laughing or yelling at the judge and the family and friends
of some of his victims. At the conclusion of the trial, New York State
Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Guidice sentenced Gelman to 200
years in prison, telling Gelman, "You are a violent sociopath."
Cameras were allowed in the courtroom and photos showing Gelman's
reaction at the time of sentencing were widely distributed.
Maksim Gelman, Admitted New York City Killer,
Gets 200-Year Sentence For Stabbing Rampage
By Colleen Long - HuffingtonPost.com
January 19, 2012
NEW YORK -- A 24-year-old man who admitted killing
four people and wounding four others in a stabbing rampage in New York
City last winter was sentenced to 200 years in prison Wednesday as he
cackled and insulted his victims, disrespected the judge and insisted
he wasn't the bad guy.
Maksim Gelman, born in Ukraine, pleaded guilty in
November in Brooklyn to murder and other charges in a two-day spree
that included stabbing his stepfather and two others to death, fatally
running down a pedestrian, stealing a car and attacking a subway
On Wednesday, he got the maximum sentence for each
of 13 counts; some of the sentences will run consecutively, resulting
in the 200-year term. He was awaiting sentencing on the subway
assault, which occurred in Manhattan.
"You are a violent predator and sociopath," Judge
Vincent Del Giudice said.
Gelman was unruly in court, fidgeting, laughing,
yelling at the judge and the family and friends of some of his victims
who came to speak, and had to be removed from the courtroom once.
"I'm not the bad guy here. These people did bad
things to me," Gelman said in a rambling statement in which he blamed
his victims and also the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, claiming he was
a drug dealer who was being followed. "It's not my fault that all this
Gelman's deadly spree on Feb. 11, 2011, started
with a family argument over whether he could use his mother's car. He
stabbed his stepfather to death in their Brooklyn home. His mother
didn't appear in court Wednesday.
Gelman took off in the car and drove to the home of
an acquaintance, Yelena Bulchenko. Bulchenko's friends have said he
was obsessed with the 20-year-old woman and imagined a romantic
relationship with her. Gelman claims she was a drug addict who worked
for him, and set him up for robbery.
She wasn't home, but Gelman stabbed her 56-year-old
mother to death, then waited nearly nine hours with the body for the
daughter to return. When she walked in, he stabbed her 11 times,
killing her, authorities said.
On Wednesday, Gelman interrupted Bulchenko's
boyfriend, Gerard Honig, telling him he had fallen in love "with a
heroin addict," to which Honig responded, "You can burn in hell."
The two insulted each other, epithets growing
louder in the courtroom until Gelman was removed briefly as the men
"No sentence is good enough," Honig later said.
"Nothing will bring them back."
After stabbing Bulchenko, Gelman left the home,
rear-ended a car and wildly stabbed at the driver, who survived.
Stealing the wounded man's car, Gelman drove off
and plowed into 62-year-old Stephen Tanenbaum, who died from his
injuries. After abandoning the car, he later hailed a livery cab and
attacked its driver, then approached another car, attacked a man
inside and seized the car, police said. Both men survived.
The livery driver, Fitz Fullerton, spoke at the
Wednesday hearing barely above a whisper because his voice box was
damaged by Gelman.
"I just got caught up in this, this is my like
third time ever seeing him and I hope he gets what he deserves,"
All those attacks happened in Brooklyn. As
authorities hunted him, Gelman was next spotted hours later on a
subway train in Manhattan, where passengers recognized him from
newspaper photographs and notified police.
He dashed across the tracks, switched trains and
attacked a final passenger before he was grabbed by police who were in
the subway car looking for him on the tracks. He pleaded guilty
Tuesday to the final attack.
Gelman had previously said he wasn't guilty, was
under medical supervision and his attorney, Edward Friedman described
his client's mental state as fragile.
But given the evidence and a psychiatrist's recent
opinion that Gelman couldn't argue he was not guilty by reason of
insanity, he decided he wanted to get out of his holding cell and
start serving his time in a permanent facility and so he pleaded
guilty Nov. 30 to all the charges. No plea deal was offered.
"There is a difference between a legally insane
mind and a diseased mind," Friedman said. "What Mr. Gelman has is a
During the weekend, Gelman claimed in newspaper
reports that he was responsible for six other killings, which
Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub called an attempt to beef up
his reputation as a violent criminal before going to prison and urged
the judge not to view the claims as some type of mental issue.
Judge Del Giudice did not, and referred to Gelman
as someone who was "crazy like a fox."
Times Square horror as fugitive who 'stabbed to
death his girlfriend, her mother and his stepfather in crazed killing
spree' is arrested trying to escape on subway
By Daniel Bates - DailyMail.co.uk
February 13, 2011
A crazed knifeman who allegedly murdered four
people and stabbed four others in New York has been dramatically
arrested at Times Square.
Maksim Gelman was held by an army of police who
swarmed the subway station at the tourist landmark as he tried to
leave after stabbing his final victim.
The shaven-headed 23-year-old said nothing and
stared impassively into the distance as he was led away by a dozen
armed police holding his bloodstained hands in handcuffs behind his
The arrest marked the end of a 28-hour rampage in
which Gelman is said to have knifed three people to death, fatally run
another over in a stolen car and stabbed at least four others.
The full gruesome details emerged for the first
time as tributes began to pour in for the innocent victims of what was
one of the most brutal and astonishing campaigns of violence to hit
New York in living memory.
Timeline of terror
05:10: Manhunt begins after his stepfather
Aleksandr Kuznetsov, 54, is stabbed to death in flat in the Sheepshead
Bay area of Brooklyn and makes off in his Lexus.
08:15 Mows down school safety agent Adamantia
Nikalaydakis, 41, at Avenue S and Ocean Avenue with the Lexus. She was
Murder two and
16:30: Ex-girlfriend, Yelena Bulchenko, 20, and her
mother, Anna, 56, fatally slashed at their home a few blocks away.
Suspect runs off then stabs passing motorist Art
DiCrescento, 60, and steals his Pontiac car, leaving him in a critical
Moments later he ploughs into 60-year-old
pedestrian Steve Tannenbaum making his getaway. He was taken to
hospital but died.
21:15 Manhunt broadened out the whole of New York
city after the stolen Pontiac is found near a subway station in the
01:00: Suspect hails taxi in Bedford Stuyvesant in
Brooklyn and puts machete to the throat of driver Fitz Fullerton, 55,
forcing the car to crash. Mr Fullerton suffers cuts to his neck.
Hours later he carjacks Shelden Pottinger, 25, who
has parked his Nissan Maxima outside a church on on Eastern Parkway
near Rockaway Ave. Gelman stabs the driver then speeds off with him
half-hanging out the window before forcing him out.
09:00: Repeatedly stabs a 40-year-old man on the
subway leaving him with chest and head injuries before being arrested
by police at Times Square subway station.
Gelman’s rampage is said to have begun at 5am on
Friday morning when he knifed to death his step father Aleksandr
Kuznetsov, 54, at the home they shared in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn.
The ambulette driver is said to have refused to
lend Gelman his Lexus, sending him into a wild rage. It is thought
that his mother Svetlana was in the house at the time and dialled 911
when she saw the bloody struggle with a kitchen knife.
Gelman is said to have made off in the Lexus and
run down school safety Agent Adamantia Nikalaydakis, 41, at Avenue S
and Ocean Avenue, leaving her for dead. She was taken to hospital
where her condition is stable.
At 4.30pm that day he fatally stabbed
ex-girlfriend, Yelena Bulchenko, 20, and her mother, Anna, 56, at
their home a few blocks away.
According to the New York Daily News he plunged the
knife into Miss Bulchenko more than a dozen times inside her apartment
then followed her outside when she tried to escape, stabbing her many
Tributes began to pour in for the pretty dental
receptionist on Facebook on a memorial page with friend Deestole
Urgurl writing: ‘Your life didn’t even start and you had to go’.
Kristina Podvisotskaya added: ‘Rest in peace,
angel. May g-d be with you and your mom.’
Friends also told how she had only dated Gelman for
a month and that he became ‘obsessed with her’.
‘Maksim is a monster,’ friend Violet Krivolapova,
18, told the New York Post.
‘I can’t believe this happened to such a good girl.
She of all people didn’t deserve this.’
Gelman is said to have claimed his next victim as
he ran off - he stopped passing driver Art DiCrescento, 60, and
stabbed him as he stole his Pontiac Bonneville car, leaving him in a
A witness said Mr DiCrescento calmly walked up a
whole block before screaming: 'I'm bleeding to death! Somebody help
Moments later Gelman mowed down 60-year-old
pedestrian Steve Tannenbaum at the junction of Avenue R and Ocean Ave
He was taken to Kings County Hospital but died from
By 9pm he had ditched the Pontiac and made off on
foot which caused the police manhunt to expand to the whole of New
It was not until 1am the next day that Gelman
Then he had hailed a taxi in Bedford Stuyvesant in
Brooklyn and put a machete to the throat of driver Fitz Fullerton, 55.
The car swerved on the road and crashed and Gelman
got out and ran off, leaving Mr Fullerton with cuts to his neck.
Hours later he carjacked Shelden Pottinger, 25, who
had parked his Nissan Maxima outside a church on on Eastern Parkway
near Rockaway Ave.
Gelman stabbed Mr Pottinger then sped off with him
half-hanging out the window before forcing him out.
His injuries are not life-threatening.
‘He was waiting for his wife to leave . . . The guy
came by and tried to steal his car,’ a witness told the Daily News.
‘He was kicking him, literally kicking him to get
him out of the car...He was stabbing at him with a long knife.’
The rampage came to an end at 9am on Saturday
morning when Gelman slashed a 40-year-old man on the subway at the
96th St. and Broadway station on the Upper West Side.
According to the New York Post Gelman had banged on
the subway train driver’s door, yelling: ‘My girlfriend ruined my
When the driver refused to let him he attacked a
random passenger on the No.2 line train.
Police believe he got off the train at Times Square
station then crossed over to an uptown No.3 train where he was grabbed
by an army of armed officers.
Pictures showed the victim being wheeled away on a
stretcher wearing an oxygen mask with his head covered in blood.
He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in a critical
A bloodied knife was recovered by forensic officers
from the scene and taken away for further examination.
Subway passenger Hyun Jo, 35, told the Post: ‘I saw
a stream of people coming from the front of the train. They looked
upset. They had white faces.
‘The conductor announced they ‘found the guy who
killed four people yesterday.’ I saw the blood in the other car when
they let us off. It was crazy.'
Gelman’s arrest brought to an end a frantic manhunt
in which he played a game of cat and mouse with police who rushed to
at least one sighting of him only to find he had already fled the
The community of Sheepshead Bay was put on lockdown
and residents were told to stay inside whilst SWAT teams roamed the
streets looking for the suspect.
Those who knew Gelman said they were stunned he had
‘flipped’ but that he had a reputation for low-level crime and was a
Mother-of-two Stella Bend, 38, who lives two doors
down from Gelman’s house, said: 'Gelman flipped out when his step
father wouldn't let him have the car. It was four in the morning, who
goes out at that time of the day?
'That's what sparked this whole thing off. There
must have been something more too it, I can't believe that was just
'From what I've heard Maksim had been getting into
lots of trouble and had been doing drugs and drinking. I don't think
he had a job.
'His mother had been worried about him for ages,
but not because he might do something like this.
'The stepfather was a lovely guy and she is a
lovely lady. She used to sit out on her balcony reading in the summer,
taking it easy. I just can't believe this has happened.'
Neighbour Jeremy, 29, a scrap metal dealer, added:
'To think that somebody would just throw his life away and that of his
family, it's just insane.'