‘You didn’t know his strength’
- Last Updated: 3:54 AM, June 21, 2012
- Posted: 2:07 AM, June 21, 2012
The old man had cheated death at three concentration camps.
So when a thug one-third his age wrapped Guido Felix Brinkmann in duct tape and beat him hard enough to shatter his bones, the 90-year-old Holocaust survivor wasn’t going to give up anything — even the combination to his two safes, a Manhattan judge said at a dramatic murder sentencing yesterday.
“You did not know the strength and resolve of Mr. Brinkmann,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan told Brinkmann’s murderer, 30-year-old Aljulah Cutts, sentencing him to 25 years to life in prison.
Brinkmann died a bloody pulp in his Upper East Side apartment three years ago — his head bashed to the point of brain hemorrhage, four of his ribs broken — refusing to surrender to his assailants.
“You thought he would roll over,” Merchan told Cutts. “Instead, he summoned the stamina and the courage he had gained from his time in the concentration camps.”
One of the safes held thousands in cash. The other, the larger of the two, held tax records.
Prosecutors say Cutts and two others — his brother Hasib, and Angela Murray, who both face murder charges — tortured Brinkmann, then stole the larger safe when the tough old man wouldn’t crack. All they found inside was worthless paper.
“This was no ordinary beating. No, what you did to Mr. Brinkmann was unjustified and shocking to the conscience,” Merchan said.
Manhattan prosecutor Shanda Strain called the killing “incredibly brutal and heinous.”
Still, the most moving statement came via videotape, from Brinkmann’s son, Dr. Rick Brinkman, a 58-year-old psychologist from Portland, Ore.
“Honestly, I don’t even understand how you do that to someone your own age, never mind someone who is 60 years older than you,” said the son, who filmed himself wearing a Rangers T-shirt and sitting in front of a window frame filled with evergreens.
At Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria, where Brinkmann spent 9 months, “they would make them stand outside in below-zero weather for four hours at a time in nothing but their underwear, just waiting for prisoners to die. He survived that,” the son said.
“He was not afraid of anything — because, I mean, he faced death,” the son said.
“I think I’ve seen him angry five times in his whole life. He was a real sweetheart of a guy.”
Defense lawyer Daniel Scott asked the judge to “temper justice with mercy,” and sentence Cutts to the minimum, 20 to life.
Cutts, too, spoke. “A heinous crime has been put against me,” he insisted. “I know I am innocent.”