Suspect in East New York man's death appears in court

The family of a slain East New York man packed a Downtown Brooklyn courtroom Friday morning as the suspect in his death faced a judge.

Kurt Heusel is accused of beating Zuriyah Benyehudah to death last June.

Kurt Heusel is accused of beating Zuriyah Benyehudah to death last June. (2/24/17)

BROOKLYN - The family of a slain East New York man packed a Downtown Brooklyn courtroom Friday morning as the suspect in his death faced a judge.

Kurt Heusel, 31, is accused of beating Zuriyah Benyehudah, 26, to death last June.

In court, the defense attorney requested cellphone records that he said could be vital in the case and prove the defendant's innocence. The attorney also said he plans to prove that his client was merely protecting a life.

"The so-called victim in this case got what he deserved," Howard Greenberg said. "He was beating down a young woman who he could have killed. He had a knife, and the defendant intervened to save her life."

Greenberg claimed the woman was dating Benyehudah. The victim's family said they are shocked by the allegations.

Family members said Benyehudah would never have harmed a woman, calling him a "sweet kid" who "loved people."

The next court date is set for April 21.

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