By Steven Cook
MECHANICVILLE — Days after the August murder of David J. Feliciano, Nikolai Mavashev admitted to investigators that he shot and killed Feliciano as co-defendant Joseph Broscko helped, according to a new prosecution account.
That alleged statement by Mavashev, however, is under attack by his attorney Cheryl Coleman, who claims in her motions that Mavashev requested a lawyer prior to making any incriminating statements.
Meanwhile, the murder indictments against both men appeared at risk of being thrown out as County Judge James Murphy indicated in court Tuesday that he saw possible unspecified “irregularities” in the grand jury proceedings.
Prosecutors have until next week to respond. If the indictments are dismissed, prosecutors would have the opportunity to seek new ones.
Mavashev, 19, of 25 Hidden Farm Lane, Halfmoon, was indicted in September along with co-defendant Broscko, 16 at the time of the killing, of 9 Linden Court, Clifton Park.
The two are accused of robbing and then killing Feliciano on Aug. 7 in Mechanicville. Police arrested them two days after the killing.
As the alleged shooter, Mavashev faces one count of first-degree murder that carries up to life in prison. Broscko faces one count of second-degree murder that includes a possible term upon conviction of 25 years to life.
The pair are accused of using a defaced .38-caliber handgun to kill Feliciano, 19, at the victim’s 44 Grove St. residence that evening.
Prosecutors hope to bolster their case by comparing DNA found on unspecified pieces of evidence to Mavashev and Broscko and seek a court order to compel them to provide a sample.
Both defendants appeared in court Tuesday with their attorneys Coleman and Matthew Chauvin, however, Murphy put off the DNA matter for the grand jury issue.
Coleman’s motion, among other things, questioned the first-degree murder count. She argued no evidence exists of the robbery, crucial to the higher charge.
She also questioned whether prosecutors included required instructions for certain testimony and showed a portion of Mavashev’s video-taped statement where he claimed self-defense.
Murphy is to rule on the grand jury issues next week.
In support of their DNA request, prosecutor Jesse Ashdown outlined evidence he said shows how Feliciano was killed.
Investigators zeroed in on Mavashev after inspecting Feliciano’s phone, the account reads. Officers found text messages between Feliciano’s phone and an individual believed to be Mavashev. Mavashev was upset with Feliciano and one message read that Feliciano was “going down,” the prosecution account reads.
The messages indicate that someone, presumably Mavashev, would visit Feliciano at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 to purchase drugs. The last message indicated the individual’s expected arrival was shortly before witnesses heard shots.
Investigators caught up with Mavashev Aug. 10, where he provided an incriminating statement, prosecutors wrote.
He told investigators that he and Broscko “went to the residence knowing they were going to rob and kill David Feliciano” because Feliciano “had become abusive to people,” the prosecution motion reads.
Mavashev allegedly admitted ordering a black powder revolver that was then converted to fire .38-caliber bullets with a shortened barrel. Investigators found the revolver and five spent casings at Mavashev’s residence and, at Broscko’s residence, the cut off portion of the gun, manufacturer box and an additional spent shell casing.
No statement by Broscko is mentioned in the account, but two other witnesses provided information that Broscko possessed and fired a modified .22-caliber rifle during the robbery and murder. It was unclear how they allegedly knew that. One witness also alleged that the two split the robbery proceeds.
In addition to arguing that Mavashev asked for an attorney prior to saying anything incriminating, Coleman claims state police investigators coerced Mavashev by suggesting he could go home if he confessed.
She said Mavashev asked for an attorney when investigators picked him up, and again 50 minutes into the interrogation.
“This is the situation where you man up,” Coleman quotes investigators at that point in the video.
“This is the situation where I’d get a lawyer,” she quotes Mavashev’s response.
“Defendant’s voice is shaking when he said this,” Coleman wrote. “It must have taken all the nerve this polite, young, inexperienced teenager could summon up to say this to police who were, at this point, inches from his face.”
The admissibility of the statement is expected to be the subject of a hearing later.