Crown wraps up case against alleged Kokkino killer

The Crown wrapped up its case in the second-degree murder trial of Arber “Benny” Krasniqi with testimony from two U.S. marshals who arrested him in New York City.

Krasniqi, 34, is accused of stabbing 24-year-old Jordan Ormonde in the neck and killing him on April 22, 2007 at Kokkino, a small restaurant and club in Toronto’s Greektown area.

After the stabbing, witnesses have testified, Krasniqi ran out the front door of the club and disappeared. Three months later, U.S. law enforcers picked him up in the New York City.

The jury heard last week that Toronto police got a tip about Krasniqi’s whereabouts after he tried to “pick up” two Toronto women who were in New York for a weekend in July, 2007.

One of the women recognized Krasniqi because she had recently begun to work with the brother of the victim’s girlfriend and had been following the case in the media. The pair notified police on their return home to Toronto.

U.S. Marshal Thomas Tebbetts, a senior inspector in the branch that handles international fugitive cases, testified yesterday.

He was one of “a bunch” of law enforcement officials who, after a brief investigation prompted by a request from Toronto police, went to arrest Krasniqi in the early morning of July 18, 2007 at an apartment in the Bronx.

While there, Tebbetts noticed a “pile” of identification documents. Among the documents were a Canadian passport, a Quebec driver’s licence and a Quebec health card ‑ all with Krasniqi’s picture and all bearing the name Basim Arama.

Tebbetts said he also found a credit card issued by a Quebec bank and a Canadian social insurance card embossed with the fake name.

The jury heard Krasniqi used the fake ID to register at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan, where he stayed for about two weeks before moving to the Bronx address.

According to a native Turkish speaker, the phrase basim arama means “search by the press” in Turkish. Krasniqi is Albanian, but the two languages share some similarities. It is not known whether Krasniqi speaks any Turkish.

Upon his arrest by the US marshals, Krasniqi gave some details of the alleged crime and expressed sorrow for the victim, even after one of the marshals had read him his Miranda rights, Tebbetts told the court. In the U.S., a Miranda warning tells suspects under arrest that they have the right to remain silent.

The Crown concluded its case today with testimony from U.S. Marshal Mike Romani, the lead investigator in the apprehension of Krasniqi in New York. Romani provided corroboration for the evidence given yesterday by Tebbetts.

Romani will be featured in the upcoming A&E reality show Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force, which highlights the work of the New York City unit of the U.S Marshal Service’s fugitive division.

The trial continues on Thursday, when defence attorney James Silver will begin calling witnesses for the defence.

Appearing for the Crown is Ann Morgan while Joseph Marracco is the presiding judge.