Accused Mayfair tire slasher goes to trial

Posted: January 31, 2014

DAVID TOLEDO, the beefy butcher who came to prominence in 2012 as a neighborhood voice during a tire-slashing wave in Mayfair only to be charged as the slasher, pleaded not guilty to begin his trial yesterday.

"That's it, that's his side," defense lawyer William Brennan told the jury, explaining why Toledo, 46, wouldn't testify on his own behalf.

Brennan said prosecutors lack evidence against Toledo and that they have the wrong man, partly because police rushed to close a "hot" case, he said.

Brennan blamed the 49 tire slashings that rocked Mayfair between January and April 2012 on Anthony Hainsworth, a volunteer watchman.

Hainsworth was known to carry a 3-inch folding knife, which police never tested, Brennan said in court, and he patrolled 107 times in the four-block area that included streets where many slashings occurred during the spree, while Toledo patrolled only once.

Hainsworth never caught anyone slashing tires during his self-appointed late-night missions, Brennan said.

"The lack of evidence is overwhelming," Brennan said.

Brennan also told the jury that Hainsworth had a beef with Toledo going back to when the defendant moved into the neighborhood and threw a wedding block party without a permit, which inconvenienced Hainsworth's special-needs daughter.

After sorting through tips on 25 possible suspects, police arrested Toledo on April 25, 2012 - nine days after the last tire slashing.

During sometimes heated questioning by Brennan, Hainsworth testified that he had cooperated fully in the investigation.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren McHale said evidence will show that Toledo was the culprit who kept his neighbors on edge with his tire terrorism while acting the part of good citizen and confidant to police.

She told the jurors that victims would be called to testify that every time a tire was slashed, "There he would be, even before they knew they were victims, telling them that their tires were slashed. He was always with the police. He had the ear of [former 15th Police District commander Capt. Frank] Bachmayer," McHale said.

She said Toledo - who is charged with 49 counts of criminal mischief and related offenses - robbed his neighbors of their right to the pursuit of happiness.

They "didn't feel that they had the right to pursue that happiness. They felt like hostages in their own homes," she said.

Toledo's trial resumes today.

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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