DARIEN, Conn. – Darien resident William Jennings pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges Friday morning. The Morgan Stanley executive is charged with stabbing a cab driver's hand with a penknife in an altercation in late December.
Cab driver Mohamed Anmar called 911 on the night of Dec. 22, claiming a passenger who refused to pay his fare from New York to Darien had stabbed him in the hand, according to police reports. Anmar told police that he picked up a white male in Manhattan and drove him to Connecticut, agreeing in advance to a flat rate of $204. Anmar said that when he arrived at the man’s house, he offered to pay only $50.
Anmar told police he tried to call 911 but had no cell reception. When he drove off to find a police officer, his passenger allegedly stabbed him in the hand with a penknife through the cab’s partition before running off. Anmar also states that the customer threatened to kill him, swore at him and yelled, “Go back to your country.”
Jennings turned himself in to police Feb. 29. In his statement to police, he said that there was no agreed-upon fare before the cab left Manhattan and that when they arrived in Darien, Anmar tried to charge him $300 for the ride. Jennings said he offered to pay $150, but the driver did not accept and attempted to drive him back to New York.
Jennings said he took out his phone to call the police, but Anmar reached into the back seat to grab the phone. He told police that Anmar also tried to grab the penknife that Jennings had on him and cut himself in the process. When the cab stopped near the Darien Sport Shop, Jennings said he jumped out and ran home.
According to police reports, Jennings said he did not contact police because he was afraid that Anmar would seek retaliation, because he knew where Jennings lived. After being alerted by a friend that the police were searching for a suspect in connection with the stabbing, he contacted his lawyer, Eugene Riccio, and later turned himself in. He was charged with second-degree assault, sixth-degree theft of services and intimidation by bias or bigotry.
After entering the plea Friday morning, Jennings and Riccio declined to make a statement. Jennings will next appear in court April 12.