A Manhattan jury decided Thursday that a deranged man who stabbed his philanthropist mother to death in their Upper East Side apartment more than three years ago was so insane he’s not guilty of the horrific crime, the New York Post said on December 19.
Jonathan Schwartz, 45, grabbed a knife from the kitchen and plunged it into his mother Barbara Fischler while she slept because she’d restricted him to two packs of cigarettes a day and limited his soda intake, Assistant District Attorney Steve Nuzzi argued.
But the defense countered that Schwartz, a diagnosed schizophrenic, murdered his mom during a psychotic break. The housekeeper testified at trial that she never saw Schwartz as crazy as the day before the July 2, 2012 murder, the Post said.
She went into his room and saw him staring at the wall, laughing, she told jurors.
“We believe certainly our client was not legally responsible under the law, ” said defense lawyer Daniel Gotlin. “This way he’ll be able to go to a hospital and get the treatment he needs but there’s no victory here for anybody. It’s a human tragedy.””
The prosecution claimed that the defendant was aware of his actions, the Post’s November 24 article on the trial said.
“It was just a bad day. I was just tired of sitting around. They don’t give me anything, ” Jonathan Schwartz callously whined to cops on July 2, 2011, prosecutors said during opening statements in Manhattan Supreme Court. “I just went wild. It’s a terrible incident. It should never have happened,
During the trial, Nuzzi played a recording of the defendant’s calls to 911 three times. Schwartz’s voice was eerily emotionless when he spoke to the operator. In the first call, he said: “I killed my mother with a knife.” Then he hung up and called back two minutes later with a new story: “My mother committed suicide, ” the report said.
The murder of Fischler was the first in a series of tragedies for the family. Schwartz’s stepfather, Burton Fischler, squandered almost all of her $5.8 million fortune on risky short-sales, according to a civil lawsuit brought by her first husband, according to the Post.
Schwartz’s brother Kenneth committed suicide about six months after learning that his stepdad had wiped out the inheritance.
Fischler was the daughter of the late financial guru Norman Weiden and headed a charity named after him.