A man has appeared in court accused of the murder of popular New York riding instructor Ross Reisner, shot last month through the window of his living room as he sat on the couch.
Brett Knight, 45, understood to have known Reisner for 20 years, denied the charge of second-degree murder when he appeared in the First District Court in Central Islip.
Knight had been sought by police for questioning following the September 24 shooting at the home Reisner shared with his long-time partner, Kevin Murray, in East Setauket.
Authorities say 11 shots were fired through the window of the home with a .40-caliber pistol.
Reisner died from a shot to the chest. Murray was grazed on the arm by one of the shots.
Knight is also accused of aggravated harassment in connection with the death of Reisner and the wounding of Murray.
Knight was denied bail when he made Friday’s court appearance.
It followed his capture by US Marshals earlier in the week in a small town near Knoxville, Tennessee. He signed a waiver allowing his extradition to New York.
Knight’s lawyer said his client had been a long-time friend of Reisner and had no motive to harm him.
Knight is believed to have been a former tenant in a house owned by Reisner.
Knight will reappear in court on October 16.
Reisner was a popular equestrian instructor in the area.
In April, he had become a partner in Maple Lane Farm in Mattituck, where he and his business partner, Bobby Ginsburg, trained students and horses at the 17-acre facility.
“He loved to teach and loved to ride,” Ginsburg said. “It’s just unbelievable to me that anyone would harm him.”
Reisner had intended traveling with several of his student to watch them compete in several prestigious horse shows this fall, it was reported.
Police have refused to speculate on a possible motive, but the head of the Suffolk Counry homicide squad, Detective Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick, told reporters at the time of the shooting: “This is not a random act … I believe they were fired on by someone who was intentionally firing on them.”