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Teenager Given Maximum Sentence for Murder of Man He Met on Internet

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday December 14, 2011

On Dec. 13, John Katehis received the maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison for killing a man in an Internet hook-up gone wrong. Last month, Katehis, now 19, was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury in the New York City borough of Brooklyn for the killing of George Weber, a 47-year-old radio host, EDGE reported in a Nov. 16 article.

In March 2009, Katehis was only 16 years old and met Weber through an ad on Craigslist. The teen, who claims he is straight, agreed to be paid $60 for a night of violent sex at Weber's New York City apartment. The encounter got out of control and Weber was stabbed to death more than 50 times.
In a brief statement, Katheis said he was "sorry" for murdering Weber and he felt "regret" for the pain he caused Weber's family, Gay City News reported in a Dec. 13 article.

Katehis' attorney Jay Cohen pointed out Katehis' youth when he killed Weber and asked the court for "compassion." Judge Neil J. Firetog then slammed Katehis with the full sentence for the crime. He will serve at least 25 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

After hearing his sentence, Katehis "kept his head facing forward." As he was about to leave the courtroom, he turned around and looked at the gallery where his father sat and flashed a grin, the newspaper reported.

During the verdict reading, Katehis displayed similar behavior when he turned to his father, shrugged his shoulders and shot him a big smile.

"This is the demeanor of a cold-blooded killer," prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi told jurors last month.

She also said in her closing statement that Katehis may have planned Weber's murder and could have tortured the radio show host before killing him. Weber's body was found bound at the ankles with duct tape.

The defense argued that Weber gave the teen cocaine and alcohol, which "made him jumpy" but blood tests administered within a few hours of the incident found no controlled substances or alcohol. In addition, there was no cocaine found in Weber's apartment.

After the hearing Cohen said, "They get out of this unscathed. I mean, I'm not trying to minimize this kid's responsibility, but if Craigslist didn't exist, they wouldn't have met this way."

"The way Nicolazzi was putting it, she was making it like he was a murderer," John Katehis' father, Spiro Katehis said after his son was sentenced.

Katehis' first trial in 2010 ended in a hung jury. Eleven jurors voted to convict the teen but one held out for acquittal.

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