Andre Muller pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he assaulted two parking attendants in a brawl that resulted in his son getting fatally stabbed just hours after graduating from high school. NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
As Andre Muller walked out of State Supreme Court in the Bronx on Thursday, his predicament shows just how quickly a situation can get out of control, changing lives forever.
In June, Muller was fighting with two attendants at a Bronx parking lot. His son, Isayah Muller, was stabbed to death when he jumped into the fight.
At his latest court appearance, Andre Muller pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault and possession of a weapon, which was the shovel he used during the fight.
"There's is no doubt that Mr. Muller, my client, should have retreated from the location," said defense lawyer Lawrence Fredella. "There is also no doubt that he was threatened before taking any physical action."
Isayah Muller was one of the city's top running backs. He had just attended his Truman High School graduation when the family noticed cologne, a gift for the 19-year-old graduate, was missing from their car after they picked it up.
Surveillance video shows Andre Muller confronting the attendants and throwing a punch. He says the attendants made threatening remarks.
"Mr. Encarnacion told Mr. Hernandez to 'Get the machete, get ready, we are going to cut these guys up.' At that point, and only at that time, did my client punch Mr. Hernandez in the face," said Fredella.
That is when Isayah Muller got involved and was killed. The Bronx district attorney has decided against charging the parking lot attendants.
"The family is not doing well. Their son was murdered," said Fredella.
Muller's defense attorney said the Bronx district attorney's office has it all wrong in this case. Fredella said the parking lot attendants started the tragic sequence of events.
"Mr. Hernandez had a very long machete in his hand, could have easily been charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Mr. Encarnacion had a long shank in his hand prior to any physical altercation. He could have been charged with criminal possession of a weapon," said Fredella.
Muller's attorney called it a "travesty and miscarriage of justice" and said he would try to get the charges dismissed.
Muller, who remains free on $10,000 bail, faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.