Former Times Square performer Duncan Sinclair was convicted Thursday of murdering his mother, Bertha Caldwell, during an argument at the Central Park branch of the New York City Subway Restaurant in 1993.
Caldwell, 66, was strangled in a chokehold with a meat hook and head butted twice in the face, for which Sinclair was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Sinclair, 61, was armed with an antique meat hook, drove from Queens to the Meatpacking District and worked in the restaurant from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 19, 1993, prosecutors said. While Caldwell and a friend were dining together, she confronted Sinclair about their disagreement. Caldwell had “bitterly disagreed with Sinclair about the purchase of a subscription to a news magazine,” prosecutors said. The waitress also noticed Caldwell was uncomfortable with Sinclair dating her friend’s daughter and noticed the New York Post and other media were coming into the restaurant to record the altercation.
“The defendant then used a meat hook, which he brought from home, to strike his mother in the head, while choking her with an antique meat hook,” said prosecutor Murray Richman.
Caldwell made it to the restaurant parking lot where Sinclair strangled her and headbutted her twice.
The killing drew a crowd of onlookers as restaurant employees and customers stopped to watch Sinclair and Caldwell argue.
Sinclair had both hands bound behind his back when police found him with a butcher knife in his pocket inside the car, a bloody butcher knife in Caldwell’s jewelry box.
Prosecutors said Caldwell left a note behind for her daughters, saying: “Whoever finds me, please say I love you and that you will be OK.”
Sinclair will be sentenced October 15.
CNN’s Kathleen McKiernan and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.
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