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Nov 4, 2009 12:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Oddone trial enters third week of testimony

Nov 4, 2009 12:56 PM

Witnesses who testified in the murder trial of Anthony Oddone in the last week told the jury about the defendant’s attempt to get away from the scene in a taxi after the fatal fight with Andrew Reister, a bouncer at the Southampton Publick House.

One witness, Sean Muthig, said he followed Mr. Oddone and the three friends who hustled him out the side door of the bar after Mr. Oddone released his chokehold on the neck of Mr. Reister. Mr. Muthig, 24, said he saw the four milling around near the line of taxis parked outside the packed tavern on August 7 before Mr. Oddone got into one of the cabs and rode away, the other three men remaining.

Mr. Oddone was “pacing back and forth” while one of his friends talked with a cab driver, Mr. Muthig said, his voice cracking with emotion as he recalled the chilling scene. Mr. Oddone then got into the cab by himself. Mr. Muthig placed a 911 call reporting the fight.

The questions placed to Mr. Muthig and the bits of the 911 call played for the jury on Thursday morning, October 29, did not reveal if Mr. Muthig was the 911 caller who alerted Southampton Village Police that Mr. Oddone had fled the scene in a taxi. Less than a minute after leaving the Publick House, having received a heads-up from the 911 caller, a Village Police officer pulled the taxi over near the intersection of North Sea Road and County Road 39 and arrested Mr. Oddone.

The driver of the taxi, Sami Abbes, also took the stand last week and recalled, under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Denise Merrifield, the harried scene outside the bar and the brief ride with a “nervous” Mr. Oddone in the back seat.

Mr. Abbes, a native of Tunisia, said four men had come rushing across Bowden Square from the entrance of the bar to where his taxi was parked. He said one of the men had spoken to him, asking him to drive to an address in North Sea, but that only one of the men got into the cab, he said.

“He looked in a hurry, nervous,” Mr. Abbes said in broken English from the witness stand on Wednesday, October 28. “At first he don’t say anything. Then [Mr. Oddone] said, ‘Just drive. Let’s go.’”

Not aware of what had happened inside the bar, Mr. Abbes said, he drove away. As he was approaching the village border Mr. Oddone, whom Mr. Abbes never identified by name, told him to turn right onto County Road 39 and asked him to drive faster, he recalled. He did not make the turn requested and as the car crossed County Road 39, Mr. Abbes said he suddenly noticed a police car behind him.

“I said, ‘Holy crap! I’m sorry, sir—the cops,’” Mr. Abbes recounted. “He said, ‘Be quiet. Don’t say anything.’”

Under cross-examination by Ms. Kedia, Mr. Abbes said he remembered the policeman, Officer John Rodecker, asked Mr. Oddone, “Where did the blood come from?” Officer Rodecker testified last week that he had noticed a small smear of blood on Mr. Oddone’s wrist when he pulled him out of Mr. Abbes’s taxi and handcuffed his hands behind his back so that the suspect wouldn’t notice the potential evidence and try to wipe it off. He did not say anything about having asked Mr. Oddone about the blood.

Also on the witness stand this week were two girls who had been dancing on tables inside the Publick House just before the fight broke out. Larissa Bekintova, a 22-year-old from Uzbekistan who had been teaching tennis at the Meadow Club in Southampton in the summer of 2008, said that Mr. Oddone had approached her, asking her to dance with him. She said she tried to rebuff his proposal but that he was insistent, and she “figured the best way to get away from him was to dance with him for a couple minutes.”

The second woman, Natalia Yerenina, a 21-year-old from Kazakhstan who was also working at the Meadow Club that summer, recalled Mr. Oddone getting up onto the low cocktail table in the bar’s lounge that she was dancing on. She said she was not dancing with Mr. Oddone, just that he was dancing near her. She said she did not recall noticing one of the bar’s bouncers approach the table and tell Mr. Oddone to get off, but she did remember hearing the man on the table next to her say, “Do you work here?” and that the reply was “Yes.”

When the fight between the two men broke out, she said, she grabbed a friend and ran out of the bar and witnessed none of the deadly incident.

The prosecution also called a collection of forensic experts and medical technicians who handled various parts of the crime-scene investigation the day after the fight.

After a one-day break for Election Day, testimony in the trial was to resume on Wednesday morning.

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Thank you for finally reporting. Any chance for an update after testimony today?
By HB 4 Life (72), Hampton Bays on Nov 4, 09 11:13 AM
Appears the walls are closing in on Mr Oddone, The defense attorney seems to be trying to pick apart the witness's testimony, unsuccessfully I might add. It sounds to me that Oddone was fully aware of his actions.

By pjcd (24), Smithtown on Nov 4, 09 9:17 PM
Too much for u to update the story with dj testimony??? U guys are soooo lazy it is amazing that u still have any circulation.
By HB 4 Life (72), Hampton Bays on Nov 6, 09 11:10 AM
well a few weeks into the testimony and i hope that our family is holding together. all of us in vegas are thinking and praying for you all. we cant wait to hear those wonderful words from the jury GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY!!!
love lara and michael
By michael sciulli (2), north las vegas on Nov 9, 09 12:45 AM