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Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - The two men met via Craigslist, where Katehis advertised sexual services and Weber had posted that he was looking for someone to smother him
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 20, 2009
Date of arrest: 5 days after
Date of birth: 1992
Victim profile: George Webber, 47 (a popular radio reporter)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife (50 times)
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on December 12, 2011
photo gallery

John Katehis is an American student who was convicted in 2011 of murdering George Weber, a popular radio reporter, in March 2009. Because Katehis met Weber through Craigslist, a popular classified advertising website, the media dubbed him a Craigslist killer, a generic term for murderers who find victims by placing or responding to ads in Craigslist.

Arrest for murder

On March 25, 2009, police arrested 16-year-old John Katehis of Queens, New York for the murder of the former radio reporter George Weber. Weber, 47 years old, was a well-known radio voice; during an extended career, he had worked as an on-air reporter for WABC in New York City, KGO in San Francisco, and KTLK and KMPC in Los Angeles.


Katehis confessed to the crime when apprehended. He said that he was a Satanist allied with the teachings on Anton Lavey and the Church of Satan and also claimed to be a sadomasochist. He told police that he had responded to his victim's advertisement on Craigslist for "rough sex," but stabbed Weber in self-defense after Weber tried to stab him. Weber's body was found bound and he had been stabbed 50 times. In March, 2009, Katehis was dubbed a "Craigslist Killer" by the media.

Mistrial, retrial, and conviction

On March 26, 2009, and despite his original confession a day earlier, Katehis pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and weapons possession. He was held without bail. His lawyer has told reporters that although the pair originally met through Craigslist, they had an ongoing relationship.

Following a mistrial, Katehis was retried and convicted in November 2011.

Further reading

Author David McConnell in his book American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among Men explored the Katehis case as a main example of lethal hate crimes on homosexual men where the perpetrators exhibited some degree of homosexuality themselves.


Brooklyn teen John Katehis gets 25 years to life in prison for murder of ABC reporter George Weber

Family of victim say they forgive killer

By Oren Yaniv / New York Daily News

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Brooklyn teen who brutally murdered radio journalist George Weber during a kinky online hookup was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Tuesday.

Showing no mercy, the Brooklyn judge handed down the maximum sentence to John Katehis, 18, for stabbing the ABC radio reporter 50 times in March 2009.

But compassion came from the victim’s family.

"I forgive you," Weber’s brother-in-law Jason Hannas told the convicted killer in Brooklyn Supreme Court. "I have no hatred."

Hannas asked Katehis why he committed the slaying - which the Weber's young nephews continue to have questions about.

"John, you are the only one who has the answer they seek," he told the defendant. "[Maybe\] you killed for fun, or because you could … that's a very hard answer to give a 5-year-old."

Katehis, who winked and smirked in his videotaped confession and many times during his court hearings, asked for forgiveness when he spoke.

"For the death of George Weber, I am sorry," he said. "I regret it."

Katehis’ first trial ended in a hung jury last year, but a second panel found him guilty last month, rejecting his claim of self-defense during an S&M encounter.

The two men met via Craigslist, where Katehis, then 16, advertised sexual services and Weber, 47, was looking for someone to smother him.

Prosecutor Anna-Siggac Nicolazzi noted "the viciousness" of this "thrill kill" and warned that if the defendant is ever released, he might kill again.

"This is exactly the kind of person society should be protected from," she said.


Teen pleads self-defense in murder trial

By Sanya Khetani - The Brooklyn Ink

October 21, 2010

The trial of a teenager accused of murdering a WABC newsman after a sexual encounter gone wrong was replete with contradictory testimonies on day three.

The defendant John Katehis, 18, claimed that he had only “jabbed” victim George Webber, 47, once in the neck with a knife, and that it had happened “accidentally” in self-defense. This statement was recorded by the King’s County District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau after Katehis’s arrest by the 76th precinct on March 25, 2009.

However, according to the testimony of Dr. Floriana Persechino, the Medical Examiner assigned to the case, Weber was stabbed at least 40 times in the head, neck, chest and arms. Dr. Persechino declared the cause of death to be “exsanguination”, or bleeding to death.

Throughout Dr. Persechino’s testimony, Katehis, wearing a crisp pink shirt and tie that made him look more like a high school senior than a criminal, remained unmoved, even glancing back and smiling at the press a few times. His demeanor seemed to carry over from his taped statement, where he was seen joking and laughing with the interrogator while eating donuts.

Defense Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz claimed that the detectives who arrested his client and took his statement had tried to “make him comfortable” so that he would give them a statement that could essentially amount to a confession. He also asked the representative of the DA’s Homicide Bureau why no follow-up questions to the statement had been asked of his client while in custody. However, Judge Firetog said that a representative of the DA’s office was not the “proper witness” for questions on “police policy and technique.”

In an effort to prove that his client had unintentionally stabbed the victim only once, Schwartz also said that since Dr. Persechino had only examined the stab wounds on Weber’s body without examining possible murder weapons, there was no way to conclusively prove which or whose knife had caused the victim’s multiple injuries. “Without the actual blade, you cannot determine which injury [was caused by it],” Schwartz said.

While Katehis claimed in his statement that he “[likes] his knives and swords” – some of which have names like “The Claw” and “Fury” – he said he was not carrying a knife that night, as he went to Weber’s apartment straight from school.

Katehis said he often responded to advertisements on Craigslist to make “quick cash.” On March 18, 2009, he responded to Weber’s advertisement for an erotic encounter, which would involve binding Weber’s feet with duct tape and “smothering” him for $60. An appointment was set for March 20, 2009.

Katehis claimed that Weber offered him cocaine when he went to his Cobble Hill apartment. “It was the first time I was doing coke… I became really jumpy after that,” he said. But according to testimony from a criminologist from the NYC Police Laboratory, no evidence of any drugs was found in the victim’s apartment.

Katehis said all was well until he had bound Weber’s ankles, which is when Weber pulled a knife from his pocket. “I grabbed it [the knife] and we were pulling it back and forth and I cut my hand,” said Katehis, who claims the cocaine had made him “paranoid.” Not only did he injure himself, he also cut part of Weber’s jugular vein. “Everything flew by so quick,” Katehis said.

As today’s hearing went over time by more than half an hour and a few jurors were seen nodding off, Judge Firetog said that he hoped the testimonies would be concluded by Thursday, so that the case could go to jury deliberation on Monday.


Teen charged in stab slay of WABC radio host George Weber says he stole from victim, let him die

By William Sherman -

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The teen on trial for the 50-stab slaying of WABC radio newsman George Weber admitted fishing through his victim's pockets as prosecutors said he bled to death.

"We were both struggling over the knife, we're pulling toward each other and the knife just goes and jabs him in the neck," the then 16-year-old John Katehis says coldly in a videotaped confession played yesterday for jurors.

The young male hustler met Weber online via a twisted Craigslist sex advertising rough sex, he told Brooklyn prosecutors during the 40 minute confession taped in the early morning hours of March 25, 2009, five days after Weber was slain.

Katehis said he was promised $60 for rough sex: "Smothering, he wanted someone to smother him," Katehis, now 18, said while slowly picking at a donut.

Weber, 47, supposedly pulled out a knife and the two fought - even though Katehis admitted the victim was on his stomach and his legs bound with duct tape, he said.

The teen, who at times laughed between bites of the donut, said he only remembered stabbing Weber once. "He (Weber) was still moving around, mumbling and cursing and I went into his left pocket and took the sixty bucks that was for the smothering garbage," said Katehis.

Medical examiner Floriana Persechino told the jury that Weber was stabbed some 50 times in the chest, neck, shoulders and hands.

Prosecutor Anna Sigga Nicolazzi has said the murder was no accident or result of a struggle - and that Weber posed no danger to the teen. Kathis' lawyer has called the newsman a sexual predator.

Even though the crime happened when Katehis was 16, he was charged as an adult with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.


16-Year-Old Arrested in Killing of Radio Journalist in Brooklyn

By Christine Hauser and Colin Moynihan - The New York Times

March 25, 2009

The 16-year-old boy arrested in the fatal stabbing of the radio journalist George Weber was ordered held without bail late Wednesday on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

The teenager, John Katehis, of East Elmhurst, Queens, did not enter a plea or make any statement during the arraignment before Judge John H. Wilson of Brooklyn Criminal Court.

Mr. Katehis was arrested on Tuesday night outside a bus depot in Middletown, N.Y., in Orange County. “He subsequently made statements implicating himself in the stabbing death,” said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department.

Mr. Weber, 47, who recently had been working as a freelance anchor for ABC News Radio, the national network, was found in his apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, on Sunday. He had been stabbed about 50 times, the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said.

Herb Moses, the public defender representing Mr. Katehis, told Judge Wilson that it was a “very tragic situation.” He added that he thought his client had been “used by an older gentleman” and that he expected more details to emerge about Mr. Katehis’s encounter with Mr. Weber.

Officials said the teenager apparently answered a Craigslist ad in which Mr. Weber, 47, sought a sexual partner. The police believed Mr. Weber planned to pay Mr. Katehis for sex. The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said that the two had arranged to meet on Wednesday, March 18, but rescheduled the meeting for Friday evening.

A neighbor saw someone, believed by the police to be Mr. Katehis, speaking on a cellphone outside Mr. Weber’s building on Henry Street. Mr. Weber may have allowed him to enter the apartment about 6 p.m., and while he was inside, the suspect stabbed him about 50 times, Mr. Kelly said. No weapon has been found, the police said.

The police would not say why they believed the teenager stabbed Mr. Weber. He had no criminal record. No one at his home Wednesday would comment on the case.

At 9:13 p.m. Friday, a conductor on a northbound G train saw a passenger bleeding profusely from his left hand, Mr. Kelly said. The passenger, who Mr. Kelly said was Mr. Katehis, was met by Emergency Medical Services workers at station and taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was treated and released, Mr. Kelly said. He told the police that he had cut his hand on a bottle. Judge Wilson ordered Wednesday that Mr. Katehis continue to receive medical attention for the cut.

An autopsy on Mr. Weber was performed on Monday, and the police said he had been stabbed in the head and neck, the front and rear of his torso, and the arms and hands. Mr. Katehis had changed his bloody clothes after the attack and put on some of Mr. Weber’s, Mr. Kelly said.

The teenager then fled to Middletown to a friend’s house on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kelly said. Detectives tracked him down through a search of Mr. Weber’s computer communications and from information they received from family members of Mr. Katehis’s, he said.

In Middletown on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said, Mr. Katehis’s father helped arrange for his son to go to the bus depot. As the boy approached a vehicle expecting to see his father, detectives got out and the boy fled across the street, where more detectives were waiting in an unmarked van. They tackled Mr. Katehis and handcuffed him.

Late Wednesday afternoon, several friends gathered at Angry Wade’s, a tavern where Mr. Weber had been a regular, to recall a man who often greeted them with a smile and who had a contagious laugh. He was somebody who loved to talk and debate, they said. They lighted candles, and had drinks sitting at the bar in front of an empty chair at his customary place.

There were handwritten messages on napkins on the bar surrounding a glass poured for him. “We’ll all miss you,” one said.

Outside the bar, John Peterman, 35, a coordinating producer for a television production company who lives across the street from Mr. Weber, said: “Friendships run deep in our neighborhood. And George was friends with many people.”

Mr. Katehis’s MySpace page, which was taken down Wednesday, said he enjoyed “drinking, bike riding, hanging out, roof hopping, hanging off trains,” and “extreme violence (chaos, anarchy, etc ...) video games, violent movies and listening to my iPod.”

“II am an extremist, an anarchist and a sadomasochist. As long as you show respect for me, I will show respect for you.”

But it warned that if he were not shown respect, he would “break your neck.”

Kareem Fahim and Mick Meenan contributed reporting.



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