Car-jacker caught on tape as victim pleads for life

DAVID USBORNE

New York

The extraordinary cool of a New Jersey teacher when she found herself the victim of a car-jacking did not save her life, but it did give the police an unusually easy job in tracking down the man they believe killed her.

Not only did Kathleen Weinstein, 45, spend almost half an hour trying to reason with her assailant, she also secretly slid a mini-cassette recorder into a shirt pocket and taped the conversation.

The tape, which came to an end before she died, now stands as an unassailable item of evidence in the prosecution's case against the teenager accused of the crime. It is also a final testament to her willingness always to try to get through to even the most troubled of youngsters.

Police say they are now "beyond confident" that Michael LeSane, 17, is the man who burst into Mrs Weinstein's car at a New Jersey shopping mall on Thursday of last week. "His voice is on the tape. He is named on the tape," John Doran, a spokesman for the state prosecutor's office confirmed.

After ignoring the reasonings of Mrs Weinstein, Mr LeSane allegedly suffocated her with her own clothing and dumped her body by the side of a highway south of New York City. The accused turned 17 the day after the murder and had bragged to school friends that he had stolen a gold Toyota Camry as a present to himself - the kind of car driven by Mrs Weinstein.

The tape reveals Mrs Weinstein pleading with her assailant. "You haven't done anything yet. All you have to do is let me go and take the car," she says on the recording. "For my life, don't you think I should . . . let you take my car? For my life!" In an even voice, Mrs Weinstein tries to warn her attacker of what will happen if he kills her: "Don't you think they are going to find you?"

Well known for her patience with difficult children as a teacher in a New Jersey high school, Mrs Weinstein had recently introduced a special programme in the school called "Random Acts of Kindness". Students who went out of their way with kind gestures toward others were rewarded with prizes sponsored by local businesses, such as free pizza lunches or film tickets.

"It was her way," remarked James Ouellette, assistant headmaster of the school.

A makeshift memorial had been established yesterday under the main signboard outside the school that carried the message: "Mrs Weinstein. Thanks for your random acts of kindness. We will remember you."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Controller

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Head Porter / Concierge

£16000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks