Brooklyn child stabber found guilty of murder
A Brooklyn Supreme Court jury Tuesday found a 30-year-old man guilty of repeatedly stabbing two young children in an East New York public housing elevator, leaving one dead.
Nearly four years ago on June 1, 2014, Daniel St. Hubert attacked then-7-year-old Mikayla Capers and 6-year-old P.J. Avitto in their home’s elevator. With a nine-inch steak knife, he covered Capers’ body with 16 stab wounds and Avitto’s with 11, killing him before Capers could crawl for help.
Just before jurors were slated to break after a second day of deliberations yesterday afternoon, they found St. Hubert guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder. The children’s family members held hands and shook in the court audience, trying to contain themselves as their eyes gradually got redder upon the announced decision.
Staring at the jurors, St. Hubert slightly moved his eyebrows but remained mostly straight-faced.
“He’s free now!” relatives yelled as they exited the courtroom, referring to Avitto.
“P.J. can now rest in peace,” his mother Aricka McClinton told reporters in the court hall. “This is justice day!”
The family endured years of reliving the unprovoked attack in court, ending with the high-profile trial that brought Capers, now 11, to the stand.
When she and Avitto entered Avitto’s Boulevard Houses building to grab ICEEs from upstairs, St. Hubert followed them into the elevator that was unwatched by any surveillance cameras.
After he repeatedly stabbed the children, St. Hubert ran off, tripping and falling outside and dropping the bloody knife. When police picked it up later on, they found his DNA on the handle and arrested him four days later.
While Avitto bled out quickly in the elevator, Capers was able to crawl out and call for help, eventually getting treatment at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Defense attorney Howard Greenberg put the blame of the guilty verdict on himself.
“When the case goes south, what I do is look in the mirror,” he told reporters while victim family members clapped in the background.
Greenberg fronted a defense that St. Hubert was a “patsy,” often citing that his fingerprints were never recovered in the elevator and none of his clothes were found with blood.
Despite the verdict, Greenberg said he was confident it would be reversed when he appeals the decision.
“I know that nothing will bring solace to the family of little PJ and that Mikayla, who bravely took the stand at trial, will carry the scars of that day forever,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “It is my hope, however, that today’s verdict will still afford them a small measure of closure by knowing that this defendant has been brought to justice.”
Facing 50 years to life in prison, St. Hubert is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15.
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