A Queens landlord, who allegedly stabbed and killed his girlfriend as well as his two tenants, told police that he carried out the crimes out of anger from “all the stress” over outstanding rent payments and his partner mocking him over that, New York Daily News reported.
David Daniel is said to have fatally stabbed the three victims on Tuesday morning before turning himself in. The suspect told officers at the 113th Precinct stationhouse that he “did something bad” at his residence, police said.
Officers who quickly responded to the scene found the three deceased victims. Daniel’s girlfriend was identified as 51-year-old Coleen Caesar Fields while the deceased tenants were identified as Evette Sweeney, 55, and Thomas Wayne, 57.
Investigators said the killings likely stemmed from an ongoing landlord-tenant dispute between Daniel and the three victims, New York Daily News reported. Sweeney and Wayne were a couple, and a police source said they owed Daniel back rent dating back to the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“I’m having trouble with my tenants, they haven’t paid rent in a long time,” said Daniel in a statement, per prosecutors. “I did a horrible thing, real bad.”
Daniel also said he had killed someone when an officer asked him if he had done so. “I just need some time, I was trying to see if I can get the bodies out because they didn’t want to come out,” he informed officers. “This morning it happened, everyone is there now.
“Tenants and the person I live with — everyone is dead, honestly,” he added. “The tenants are downstairs in the basement, one male, one female. The backdoor leads upstairs to the bedroom.”
Daniel also shared details on what caused the killings. “My partner began to mock me because I wasn’t doing anything about the payment,” the suspect said. “She locked me out of the room and I told her we don’t have to share a room, but she has to pay $1,500 in rent. She refused to do that and I just snapped. I was just so angry from all the stress.”
During his arraignment at the Queens Criminal Court, Daniel’s lawyer, Daria Aumand, said it’ll be best if the suspect undergoes a psychiatric evaluation. “It may be an extreme emotional distress issue or another psychiatric issue where it’s best for a doctor to evaluate,” Aumand said.
Daniel has been charged with first and second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. “The bloody crime scene was the result of extraordinary brutality,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “In court, what we will show is that the defendant viciously stabbed his defenseless victims to death.”