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Aunt of NYC straphanger fatally shoved in front of train begged him to stop taking subways: ‘I was petrified for him’

From (L) to (R): Jason Volz pictured in a selfie, Alleged subway shover Carlton McPherson, 45, Christine Conte
From (L) to (R): Jason Volz pictured in a selfie, Alleged subway shover Carlton McPherson, 45, Christine Conte

The aunt of the straphanger who was shoved in front of a train and killed in a random attack at an East Harlem station begged her nephew to stop taking the subway days before his death, citing the uptick in violence underground.

Christine Conte, 70, shared the details of her final phone call with nephew Jason Volz, 55, outside a Manhattan courtroom after his alleged killer was indicted on Friday.

Conte said she pleaded with Volz to not take the subway and instead take a bus when he reached out on Saturday to tell her about how excited he was about a first date he had planned with a new gal pal.

“I heard all the accidents going on — I was petrified for him,” Conte said, fighting back tears.

“I worried like crazy for him. I said, ‘Jason, don’t go on the f’in trains, please.’ There’s so many killers.”

The number of felony assaults in the transit system jumped 53% last year from pre-pandemic times, with 570 such attacks in 2023 compared to 373 in 2019, the latest NYPD data show.

Conte and her son waited in court all Friday for the hearing for Carlton McPherson, 24, the accused killer who is charged with shoving Volz in front of a subway train at the East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue station shortly before 7 p.m. on Monday.

McPherson, who had family in the gallery, had his appearance waived by his attorney. Prosecutors announced they indicted the alleged subway pusher, whose family has said suffers from bipolar disorder.

Conte’s son exchanged words with McPherson’s family outside the courtroom after his hearing — where he could be heard yelling “killer” directed at McPherson’s family.

Christine Conte, 70, shared the details of her final phone call with nephew Jason Volz, 55, outside a Manhattan courtroom after his alleged killer was indicted on Friday. Christine Conte
Christine Conte, 70, shared the details of her final phone call with nephew Jason Volz, 55, outside a Manhattan courtroom after his alleged killer was indicted on Friday. Christine Conte

Volz’s aunt said she wanted to see McPherson for herself after being shut out from seeing her nephew’s body.

“I just wanted to look at him. I just wanted to see his expression. I wanted to see when they were saying things to him, how he was going to react. Was he going to smile? Was he going to make noises, talk, laugh,” Conte said, referencing when McPherson flashed a sinister smile as he walked out of an East Harlem precinct earlier this week.

“I just wanted to see the curiosity. Excuse me — he f–king murdered my nephew. My f–king heart is torn apart.”

Conte said she’s haunted knowing Volz was pushed to his death waiting for a subway.

Conte said she pleaded with Volz to not take the subway and instead take a bus when he reached out on Saturday to tell her about how excited he was about a first date he had planned with a new gal pal. Christine Conte
Conte said she pleaded with Volz to not take the subway and instead take a bus when he reached out on Saturday to tell her about how excited he was about a first date he had planned with a new gal pal. Christine Conte

“It’s awful that he had to get pushed off like that. Awful,” she said.

She echoed what neighbors had said about Volz, who described him as having a “very big heart” and being a “compassionate” person.

McPherson will be arraigned at his next court date on April 15 on murder charges.