By Jake Pearson
NEW YORK — A recently released convict was charged by New York City police Thursday with murder, attempted murder, assault and other crimes in the stabbing death of a 6-year-old boy and critical wounding of a 7-year-old girl in a Brooklyn elevator.
Daniel St. Hubert, who was arrested Wednesday night shortly after he was publicly identified as a suspect in Sunday's gruesome attack in a public housing building, is also suspected in the stabbing of a homeless man at a Manhattan subway platform three days after Sunday's elevator attack, police said. He's also being eyed in last week's the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old just blocks away from Sunday's scene, police said.
St. Hubert, 27, hasn't formally been formally charged in those two stabbings and investigators are still testing forensic evidence, police said.
St. Hubert, who was released from prison on May 23 following a five-year sentence for attempted murder and assault, was in custody and unavailable for comment. He has not made any statements implicating himself and has retained a lawyer, police said. The name of the lawyer was not immediately available.
St. Hubert was also charged with making graffiti after police said officers witnessed him scrawling on a stop sign shortly before his arrest Wednesday night near his mother's home, police said.
Court records show St. Hubert was arrested in May 2009 after punching his mother in the face, choking her with an electrical cord and stealing her car. He eventually pleaded guilty in July 2012 and served almost three years of his sentence in city jail or in the custody of the department of mental hygiene, according to court records.
St. Hubert is seen on surveillance video near the Manhattan subway stop where a man was stabbed on a platform Wednesday, said Stephen Davis, the police department's top spokesman.
Witnesses to Wednesday morning's seemingly random stabbing also described a man resembling St. Hubert using an 8-to-10-inch knife with a brown handle similar to one recovered on St. Hubert when he was arrested, Davis said. The 53-year-old homeless man is recovering in a hospital and is likely to survive his injuries.
St. Hubert is also suspected of stabbing to death 18-year-old Tanaya Copeland on Friday, Davis said. A similar knife was recovered at the scene of Copeland's slaying.
Investigators are now reviewing all stabbings citywide that have occurred since St. Hubert's release. Davis said it appeared St. Hubert was issued a summons for public urination in Brooklyn at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, before he was identified as a suspect in Sunday's attack.
The father of Prince Joshua Avitto, the 6-year-old boy who was fatally stabbed, said Thursday that if he saw the suspect, he'd ask him, "What made you do this to a little baby?"
"I'm at a loss for words," Prince's father, Nicholas Avitto, told Fox 5 News. "The bottom line is he got out and this tragedy took place after he was released from jail."
The boy's friend, 7-year-old Mikayla Capers, was also critically injured in the attack.
St. Hubert was picked up Wednesday night just after 8 p.m. by detectives who had been tracking him and were patrolling the area around his mother's Queens home, police said. He was identified by forensic evidence recovered on the knife at the scene of Sunday's elevator stabbing, according to police.
St. Hubert didn't put up any resistance during his arrest and was angrily ranting to himself in a holding cell late Wednesday night, Davis said. It wasn't immediately clear what he was ranting about or if he has a history of mental illness, Davis said.
Court records show St. Hubert was found unfit for trial three of the four times he was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations following his arrest for assaulting his mother. He also was convicted of assaulting a correction officer in jail, the records show.
The attorney who represented St. Hubert in his attempted murder case didn't immediately return a request for comment.
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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press