An immigrant man who claims to be from Tajikistan is accused of murdering a New York college professor in May. Now Mirzo Atadzhanov claims he killed 66-year-old Jeremy Safran in self-defense.
Atadzhanov, 28, told authorities that Safran asked him to come into his home and do some electrical repairs, even though he’s not an electrician, The New York Daily News reported. He said Safran was unsatisfied with the repairs he did on a lighting fixture, and that Safran said, “This country cannot benefit from immigrants.” Safran, who taught at New York City’s New School for Social Research, is Canadian.
The two men allegedly got into an altercation that turned violent, and Atadzhanov claims that Safran attempted to stab him with a combat knife, and that while acting in self-defense, he killed the professor.
Prosecutors disagreed with Atadzhanov’s version of events, claiming that Safran was working out during the time of the attack, and that Atadzhanov broke into the home and attacked him. Atadzhanov claimed he and Safran were strangers, but NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said he may have been a student in Safran’s class.
At the time of the alleged murder, Jeremy Safran’s wife and daughter were home. A neighbor reportedly alerted his wife to a strange man entering and exiting their home. A 911 call followed, where the police allegedly found Atadzhanov covered in blood, hiding in a closet with several tools, including a hammer. Atadzhanov was charged with burglary and murder.
Atadzhanov pleaded not guilty to the charges.
This is not Atadzhanov’s first brush with the law for an alleged violent incident. In December of 2016, he was arrested on the charges of attempted rape and forcible touching for allegedly attempting to rape a tourist from Canada who had arranged to stay at his apartment through a service called Couchsurfing.com, although the charges were dropped.
[Image via screengrab]