A former American Express executive who confessed to murdering an acclaimed Long Island equestrian in an alleged revenge killing was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Tuesday, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Brett Knight, 46, was sentenced on murder, attempted murder, weapons possession and aggravated harassment charges in connection with the shooting death of Ross Reisner. The 50-year-old was an acclaimed equestrian.
Prosecutors said Knight hid in the bushes next to Resiner’s house on Upper Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket on the evening of Sept. 24, 2013 and fired 11 gunshots through the kitchen window. Reisner, who was struck in the back, died and his partner, Kevin Murray, was wounded.
Authorities allege Knight had sought revenge against the couple, who he had known since the 1990s, after his relationship grew sour when he was fired from his job as an executive at American Express after 18 years. Knight had moved into the couple’s home after he was fired and later filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.
“He convinced himself that they were responsible for everything that had gone wrong,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said after Knight was arrested. The district attorney’s office said Tuesday that Knight “became convinced they interfered in his wrongful termination lawsuit.”
Spota said Murray had written a letter to American Express claiming that he knew the allegations Knight had made against the company in his lawsuit were baseless. The suit was settled out of court and the couple booted Knight from their home after Knight learned about the letter and allegedly went on a rampage with a sword in July 2010, destroying items in the home, Spota said.
Spota said American Express settled the lawsuit but that the terms of the settlement were “clearly not in favor and not in Mr. Knight’s satisfaction.” A spokeswoman for American Express told zoomdune.com in 2013 that Knight’s job had been “displaced due to reengineering.” The company would not comment on the lawsuit.
Prosecutors said Knight told detectives the couple had “betrayed him and destroyed his life.” He said he had been plotting the killing for months, prosecutors have said.
“In Knight’s own words, had he had his way, there would have been two murders,” Spota told reporters after Knight was indicted. He said Knight also told detectives that he woke up every morning “seething” at the couple.
Knight was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Seymour, Tennessee in October 2013 after he drove across the country on a motorcycle. He told investigators at the time that he wanted to see the Smoky Mountains.