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Homeless man charged in NY subway rider's death

By Colleen Long And Deepti Hajela

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6 2012 7:30 a.m. MST

Naeem Davis stands in front of Judge Lynn Kotler during his arraignment on murder charges Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in New York. Davis was arrested Tuesday in the death of 58-year-old New York city subway rider Ki-Suck Han, who was shoved onto the tracks.

AP Photo/New York Post, William C. Lopez, Pool

NEW YORK — While New York City straphangers pondered what they would do in a similar nightmare situation, authorities charged a homeless man in the death of a Queens resident pushed in front of an oncoming subway train and killed as onlookers watched.

"I would certainly try to do whatever I possibly could," said Denise Martorana, 34, as she waited for the "A" train at Penn Station on Wednesday evening.

"I certainly wouldn't be able to stand there and watch, that's for sure," she said.

Naeem Davis, 30, was arraigned Wednesday night on a second-degree murder charge and ordered held without bail in the death of 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han on Monday. He is due back in court on Dec. 11.

As the handcuffed defendant walked past reporters he blamed the victim for what happened.

"He attacked me first. He grabbed me," Davis said.

Asked by a television news reporter if he meant to kill Han, Davis replied "No."

Prosecutor James Lin told the judge that Davis saw the train strike Han before leaving the Times Square station.

"The defendant never once offered any aid to the victim as the train approached the platform and in fact, this defendant watched the train hit the victim," Lin said.

But Davis' Legal Aid lawyer, Stephen Pokart, said outside court that his client reportedly "was involved in an incident with a man who was drunk and angry."

A witness, Leigh Weingus, told The New York Times that Han appeared to be aggressive toward Davis.

"The victim kept saying "Hey! Hey!' at the suspect, getting closer and closer to him," she said. "At first Davis appeared calm, saying 'I don't know you, you don't know me, get out of my face."

Han's wife had said she had argued with her husband that morning and that he had been drinking.

Davis has several prior arrests in New York and Pennsylvania on mostly minor charges including drug possession.

Han's death got widespread attention not only for its horrific nature, but because he was photographed a split-second before the train trapped him and seemingly no one attempted to come to his aid.

Han's only child, 20-year-old Ashley, said at a news conference Wednesday that her father was always willing to help someone. But when asked about why no one helped him up, she said: "What's done is done."

"The thought of someone helping him up in a matter of seconds would have been great," she said.

A freelance photographer for the New York Post was waiting for a train Monday afternoon when he said he saw a man approach Han at the Times Square station, get into an altercation with him and push him into the train's path.

The Post photo in Tuesday's edition showed Ki-Suck Han with his head turned toward the train, his arms reaching up but unable to climb off the tracks in time.

The photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, told NBC's "Today" show Wednesday that he was trying to alert the motorman to what was going on by flashing his camera.

He said he was shocked that people nearer to the victim didn't try to help in the 22 seconds before the train struck.

"It took me a second to figure out what was happening ... I saw the lights in the distance. My mind was to alert the train," Abbasi said.

"The people who were standing close to him ... they could have moved and grabbed him and pulled him up. No one made an effort," he added.

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