NEW YORK (AP) – The teenager charged with hate-crime assault for a Howard Beach baseball bat attack refused to leave his jail cell for a court appearance, a Queens judge said.

Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter said Tuesday that he would authorize the “use of force” to bring Nicholas Minucci to court. Without the 19-year-old present, the judge postponed what was to be the second day of jury selection in the trial.

Minucci is accused of using racial epithets before severely beating a black man with an aluminum bat on a Howard Beach street corner. Moore suffered a fractured skull and other injuries in the June 29 attack.

“I don’t know why he’s not coming,” defense attorney Albert Gaudelli said after Tuesday’s hearing. “He may be ill, he may be sick, or maybe there’s some confusion.”

The predominantly white neighborhood in Queens was the site of an attack that ignited racial tension in 1986. In that incident, three black men who were stranded in the neighborhood when their car stalled were attacked by a group of white teenagers.

Then-Mayor Ed Koch compared that attack to a lynching.

If convicted, Minucci could face a maximum sentence of 8-to-25 years in prison.

Information from: Daily News,

AP-ES-05-17-06 0525EDT

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