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Violent Crimes

Charges Dismissed for Man Who Killed Brother Over Jacket

Newsday - March 19, 2003, 5:11 pm EST

A Nassau County grand jury has dismissed a manslaughter charge against a Hempstead man who said he stabbed and killed his brother in self-defense during an argument over a leather jacket last December, the district attorney said today.

The grand jury on Mar. 13 voted not to indict Michael Pittman, 43, of first-degree manslaughter, essentially clearing him of any wrong-doing in the death of this brother, David Pittman, 42.

"It turned out to be a tragedy for him as well as his family but he was vindicated in the end," Michael Pittman's attorney, Alan Schwartz of Garden City, said yesterday.

The brothers had been arguing about the missing jacket for a couple of days before they came to blows on Dec. 3, 2002, police had said. That afternoon, police had said David Pittman came home, and, again, asked about the jacket. Michael Pittman accused David Pittman of stealing, selling or possibly giving the jacket away, police had said. The argument escalated and the brothers traded blows in a bedroom, with their mother, Edith Pittman, and at least one other person present in the apartment, police had said.

According to police, David Pittman picked up a lamp. At about the same time, Michael Pittman grabbed a steak knife, which was nearby, and stabbed his brother in the abdomen. David Pittman collapsed and Michael Pittman called 911.

Michael Pittman, who had been held at the Nassau County Correctional Facility in East Meadow since his arrest, was released Mar. 13, according to the jail. Michael Pittman couldn't be reached yesterday for comment.

Rick Hinshaw, a spokesman for District Attorney Denis Dillon, yesterday said the grand jury conducted its business in secret and he is barred from discussing the case.