A New York City landlord was charged with murder on Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend and two tenants, after a dispute over rent, Queens prosecutors announced.
David Daniel, 54, is charged with three counts of murder in the first and second degrees after turning himself into police on Tuesday following the attack, prosecutors said in a news release.
According to prosecutors, officers responded to his property in the neighborhood of St. Albans to find Daniel’s two tenants deceased on the floor with multiple stab wounds and his girlfriend dead in the second room with stab wounds.
“The bloody crime scene was the result of extraordinary brutality. In court, what we will show is that the defendant viciously stabbed his defenseless victims to death,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz (D) said.
According to the New York Daily News, citing Daniel’s statement to police, the suspect told officers he blamed “stress” for the attack.
A police source told the outlet investigators believed Daniel killed his girlfriend and tenant as part of an ongoing rent dispute, claiming that the downstairs tenants did not pay rent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daniel told officers the confrontation began when his girlfriend mocked him for not doing anything about the payments.
“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,” Daniel told officers. “She refused to do that and I just snapped. I was just angry from all the stress.”
Speaking at Daniel’s arraignment on Wednesday, his attorney Daria Aumand said she wants her client to undergo a psychiatric review, claiming the incident may have been caused by extreme emotional distress, the New York Daily News reports.
According to court records, Daniel is set to return to court on Friday.