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New York City Stabbing Spree
Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Stabbing rampage
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: February 11, 2011
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: May 31, 1987
Victims profile: His stepfather Aleksandr Kuznetsov, 54 / His ex-girlfriend, Yelena Bulchenko, 20, and her mother, Anna, 56 / Steve Tannenbaum, 60
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Running down
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 200 years in prison on January 18, 2012
photo gallery

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 tendencies.

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 graffiti vandalism.

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 Lozito's help.

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 Bulchenko.

On November 30, 2011, Gelman pleaded guilty to all charges.


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 -

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 passenger.

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 happened."

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 composed themselves.

"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," Fullerton said.

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 diseased mind."

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 -

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 back.

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


Murder one

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 left hospitalised.

Murder two and three

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 condition.

Murder four

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 Flatbush area.


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 times more.

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 critical condition.

A witness said Mr DiCrescento calmly walked up a whole block before screaming: 'I'm bleeding to death! Somebody help me!'

Moments later Gelman mowed down 60-year-old pedestrian Steve Tannenbaum at the junction of Avenue R and Ocean Ave in Brooklyn.

He was taken to Kings County Hospital but died from his injuries.

By 9pm he had ditched the Pontiac and made off on foot which caused the police manhunt to expand to the whole of New York City.

It was not until 1am the next day that Gelman struck next.

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 life’.

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 condition.

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 scene.

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 ‘street punk’.

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 it.

'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.'



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