Man accused of stabbing MTA conductor reaches plea deal as he battles cancer
A man accused of stabbing a subway conductor on Easter Sunday has reached a plea deal that will allow him to be released and avoid facing an attempted murder charge.
Walter Rivera pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge in court Friday. Prosecutors say Rivera stabbed Denaul Jenkins multiple times by the 149th Street - Grand Concourse station this past April.
The district attorney says the agreement was made because of the seriousness of the form of cancer Rivera is battling. The deal allows him to get treatment for his cancer, and to get mental help.
The DA's office says the victim of the stabbing had knowledge beforehand about the proposed agreement, which requires Rivera to receive regular health treatment and stay out of trouble.
Rivera will utilize the MTA's Access-A-Ride program to get to and from appointments, but would not be prevented from using mass transit if the first option is not available.
In court, dozens of Transit Workers Union members showed support for Jenkins, who also attended the hearing. Jenkins says after getting attacked, he was able to hold Rivera off. He says if he wasn't able to defend himself, he wouldn't be alive today.
"I hope he does get better, that's the best thing I can say," says Jenkins. "At the same time, you have to understand is transit workers can't be punching bags for the public. It's not fair for us."