ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — A Cornell University graduate student from New Zealand charged with murdering his wife wants an extradition hearing in Pennsylvania to fight his return to New York.
New York authorities have charged 24-year-old Blazej Kot with second-degree murder in the slaying last week of his wife, Caroline Coffey, a 28-year-old Cornell postdoctoral researcher. Her body was found last week along a wooded trail in Taughannock Falls State Park.
Police say Kot tried to kill himself after a police chase and was airlifted to a Sayre, Pa., hospital for treatment of a life-threatening knife wound.
Kot could have waived the hearing and agreed to voluntarily return to New York, but his lawyer told Bradford County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Beirne during a court appearance Wednesday that he wanted a hearing, which will now be scheduled within 15 days.
Defense attorney Joseph Joch asked for his client’s immediate release, claiming his arrest on fugitive charges was unlawful.
“I am alleging that the New York authorities have engineered the situation improperly using extradition to try to create the impression that my client is a fugitive from justice. He is not,” Joch said.
Joch said Kot was arraigned at 3 a.m. in his hospital bed and did not have access to a lawyer.
Coffey’s bloodied body was found by a jogger and cyclist the morning after a fire at the couple’s home, which appears to have been deliberately set. Police said her throat was slashed.
Kot, of Auckland, was being held in the Bradford County Correctional Facility.