NEW YORK — Bernhard Goetz was indicted by a grand jury on four counts of attempted murder today, a month after a first panel charged him only with illegal gun possession for shooting four ghetto youths on a subway train.
The indictment in the internationally publicized case was announced by Dist. Atty. Robert Morgenthau one day after Goetz refused to testify before the grand jury in a dispute over how much immunity he should be granted.
The second grand jury also charged Goetz with four counts of fourth-degree assault, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Attempted murder is a felony with a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison. The assault and weapons possession charges carry up to 15 years, and the reckless endangerment charge carries up to seven years in prison.
Goetz already faces up to seven years in prison on the felony gun possession indictment handed up by the first grand jury.
Goetz, who claimed he was defending himself against being robbed and terrorized, became a figure of tremendous controversy immediately after the shootings. Many New Yorkers and people around the country hailed his actions as a blow against crime, while others questioned whether the shootings were justified.
When Morgenthau announced earlier this month that said he would seek an indictment for a second time, Goetz predicted he would be cleared "no matter how many grand juries are called."
"I'm not worried," he said. "I know a jury of my peers will exonerate me again."
The shootings occurred Dec. 22 on an IRT subway train just north of the World Trade Center on which Goetz, the four youths and about 20 other people were riding.
Goetz shot the youths--two of them in the back--with an illegal .38-caliber handgun.
Goetz said he fired after the youths surrounded him and one of them said, "Give me $5," with his hand thrust menacingly in his pocket. Goetz, who had been robbed before, said he was only defending himself against a certain robbery and beating.
But two of the youths have said that only one of them approached Goetz, and that he merely asked, "Can I have $5?" The youth's lawyer likened it to a panhandler's request.
One of the youths, Darrell Cabey, remains paralyzed below the waist and suffering from some brain damage. As a result, doctors have said, he has trouble speaking and cannot remember what happened.
Although there were several witnesses to the events immediately preceding and following the firing of the first shot, so far the only versions of how the incident began have come from Goetz and the youths.
Goetz fled the train after the shooting and resurfaced on Dec. 31 in Concord, N.H., where he surrendered at police headquarters.