Schenectady County

Schenectady murder suspect was assaulted in home soon before stabbing

An Elm Street resident who claims she was defending her apartment against a burglary Dec. 26 when sh

An Elm Street resident who claims she was defending her apartment against a burglary Dec. 26 when she stabbed an intruder to death was herself the victim of a burglary by a different person just over two weeks earlier, according to papers filed recently in court.

Charged last week in the earlier burglary was Kevin Sands, 39. He faces one count of first-degree burglary, a high-level felony that could send him to prison for 25 years.

He is accused of entering into 203 Elm St. without permission sometime between 8 and 9 a.m. Dec. 9, and refusing to leave, according to papers filed in court. While there, he punched the resident, causing two lumps on her head. She also suffered a bump under her eye and a lump on her jaw.

He is also accused of choking her during the attack and, in the weeks leading up to the break-in, of calling her repeatedly, according to papers.

The complainant is identified in the burglary paperwork only by her date of birth. She is identified by name — Tina Karuzas — as the complainant in another count, aggravated harassment, related to the repeated calls.

Sands faces a charge of aggravated harassment related to the calls and a charge of criminal obstruction of breathing on allegations he choked her, both misdemeanors. Sands is identified in paperwork as the woman’s ex-boyfriend.

Though Sands was arrested only last week, the break-in and attack allegedly happened Dec. 9 at the same address and in the same second-floor apartment where, just 17 days later, Karuzas would be accused of stabbing to death 27-year-old Latoya Ebron in a dispute over loud music.

In that case, Karuzas, 27, is accused of stabbing her downstairs neighbor after she entered Karuzas’ apartment and demanded that music be turned down, authorities have said.

Karuzas told police that, after the music was turned down, Ebron attacked her, pulling her hair. Karuzas stabbed Ebron once in the ensuing struggle.

Karuzas faces one count of first-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she faces up to 25 years in state prison.

Karuzas’ defense attorney, Mark Caruso, has said his client was defending herself Dec. 26 against a burglary, albeit not the usual kind of break-in. In doing so, Caruso argues, she was justified in using the level of force that she did.

Prosecutors, however, have countered that Karuzas had other options, qualifying her actions as manslaughter. Prosecutors have also argued that, even if a jury found that Ebron’s actions qualified as a burglary, it wouldn’t automatically be a justification for the stabbing.

Caruso declined to comment Monday on the charges against Sands and any bearing they may have on the manslaughter case. William Sanderson, prosecutor in the manslaughter case, also declined to comment.

Karuzas remains at the Schenectady County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Sands is being held with no bail set.

In an unrelated case, Sands faces one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony.

Sands is accused of possessing and cashing a forged payroll check for more than $900 at the Niskayuna Price Chopper on Jan. 22, according to papers filed in court.

This makes him one of approximately 50 people charged in a larger payroll check scheme that has targeted Price Chopper, getting more than $100,000 in all from the supermarket.

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