Cop-Stabber Trial Begins
On Tuesday, the jury selection began in the trial of Neal Perreira, 32, who is charged with stabbing Police Sergeant Timothy Smith in the eye and chest when Smith and other cops responded to a call for an emotionally disturbed man at 24-50 Collier Avenue.
When the officers arrived, they found Perreira cutting vegetables at the kitchen table. As soon as Perreira saw the police, court documents say, he fled to a bedroom at the back of the house.
More police arrived at the scene, and Sergeant Timothy Smith knocked at the bedroom door.
According to court records, Perreira suddenly opened the door with the knife in his hand and stabbed Smith in the eye.
He then allegedly injured two other police officers, Daniel Sjoberg and Edward Simon, in a scuffle to get the knife from the deranged man.
Police sources say that Perreira was the subject of no fewer than 10 EDP calls over the past eight years. He was arrested seven times, often setting fires. Once, police say, he turned on the gas and threatened to blow up everybody in the house.
Smith was first transported to Jamaica Hospital, but was later transferred to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where surgeons worked to clear his brain of blood.
The sergeant, who is married but has no children, lost the use of one eye as a result of the attack.
Over the next few weeks, Smith lost his ability to speak and walk. He survived several grueling surgeries, including draining blood from his brain. His eye was removed to stanch the bleeding to his brain.
Doctors told Smith’s wife that he would face a long and difficult convalescence, and that he might never be able to live a normal life.
Smith proved them wrong, walking out of Bellevue Hospital only four months after the January 15 attack.
The two other injured officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where they were treated and released.
A spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that Perreira is charged with attempted aggravated murder, first degree attempted murder, three counts of assaulting a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon.
If convicted of all charges, he faces 25 years in prison.
Perreira was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, where he was arraigned.
He later underwent extensive psychiatric evaluations that said he was able to stand trial for his crimes.