Manslaughter trial to begin Wednesday in Schenectady neighbor stabbing

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
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— The trial of a city woman who has claimed she was justified in stabbing a neighbor to death last December is set to begin Wednesday morning with opening statements.

Tina Karuzas, 27, faces one count of first-degree manslaughter in the Dec. 26, 2011, stabbing death of 26-year-old Latoya Ebron at 203 Elm St.

Authorities have said Ebron, angered over loud music, came upstairs, entered Karuzas’ apartment and demanded that the music be turned down. Karuzas told police that, after the music was turned down, Ebron attacked her and she stabbed Ebron once in the ensuing struggle.

Karuzas’ defense attorney, Mark Caruso, has maintained previously that his client was defending herself against a burglary, albeit not the usual kind of break-in. This justified the level of force that she used, Caruso said.

Prosecutors, however, have countered that Karuzas had other options, qualifying her actions as manslaughter.

Jury selection took place Monday, with a full jury and alternates selected by the end of the day. The court was closed Tuesday, pushing opening statements to Wednesday morning.

The trial is expected to conclude by the end of next week, attorneys said.

It is being tried before acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye.

Karuzas was indicted in February by a Schenectady County grand jury that heard her testify and was given multiple options on possible charges. But the jurors indicted her on first-degree manslaughter, the same charge police initially filed against her.

The manslaughter charge relates to accusations that Karuzas intended to cause serious physical injury and caused the death of another person.

Karuzas has remained in custody since the incident.

This case also has a familial tie to another recent high-profile case, the non-fatal 2010 shooting of an 18-year-old and 11-year-old in 2010 on Schenectady Street. The mother of those two shooting victims, Tonya A. Daniels, was also the mother of Ebron.

Daniels followed both cases closely and was at the courthouse for the start of jury selection Monday.

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