27-year-old Daniel St. Hubert appeared before a judge late Thursday, after being charged in the elevator stabbing in Brooklyn that killed a 6-year-old, Prince Avitto and critically injured a 7-year-old Mikayla Capers. Although it’s still uncertain why the children were attacked, experts say drug use by paranoid schizophrenics can result in hallucinations and violent outbursts and that could have possibly been the reason why St. Hubert attacked these children. St. Hubert was officially charged with murder, attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, making graffiti and possession of a graffiti instrument.
Sources say that DNA and a cell phone led the authorities to St. Hubert. While he was spraying graffiti on a stop sign in Ozone Park, Queens, officers were able to ping his phone and recognized him almost instantly. St. Hubert had a knife on him when he was arrested. He was taken to Brooklyn Criminal Court, where an Assistant District Attorney requested that he remain in custody due to the “heinous and vicious nature” his crime. Prosecutors also considered him a flight risk, and said he was supposed to be in a halfway house but absconded.
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“They got that bastard, and that bastard is going to hell,” said Avitto’s distraught mother, Aricka McClinton, 42.
It feels like my baby can rest in peace,” she said, joining others from the neighborhood who celebrated outside the station house. A crowd of over 100 supporters gathered to watch police walk the St. Hubert to a car to transport him to court. Many of them screamed, “Murderer!” as he was escorted by police and others just wanted to lay their eyes on someone who had the gall to carry out such awful and horrendous crimes.
St. Hubert is also suspected to be the killer in two other knife attacks in New York City. 18-year-old Tanaya Copeland was stabbed to death seven days after St. Hubert was released from prison for attempted murder. “He’s a violent individual… he’s assaulted a correction officer, he’s assaulted a police officer,” detectives said during a press conference Wednesday about 15 minutes before he was caught.
It’s obvious that something more needs to be done with violent criminals with a history of mental illness. Men like St. Hubert are released from the confines of prison all the time, and when they go back into society, they can’t help but repeat the cycle. He was constantly being tested with mental health exams and was deemed unfit and committed to a mental institution and would only be there for a few months before he was deemed fit for trial. While in prison, St. Hubert was made to serve his full five-year sentence because he refused psychiatric treatment, officials said.
I don’t understand how someone so violent and mentally ill could plead guilty, do five years and be released? What do you think is going to happen? He’s somehow going to reform and be Ghandi? No! He’s going to remain violent, which was obvious from his attacks a few days after he was freed. There should be more counseling and supervision with people like St. Hubert. Releasing them onto the streets is not a helpful action. A spokeswoman for the state Office of Mental Health declined to comment on why St. Hubert wasn’t institutionalized upon release, but said generally patients aren’t committed without a specific reason.
If a patient is going to all meetings, appointments and doing everything he or she is required to do, and is showing no active symptoms that he or she is a danger to self or others, then he or she would not be a candidate for involuntary commitment,” said spokeswoman Kristin Salvi.
Here’s a few pieces from St. Hubert’s violent criminal past:
- In 2009, St. Hubert walked into his mother Marie Bauzile’s room while she was watching television, punched her in the face and body and tried to strangle her with an electrical cord, according to records in Queens County court.
- There are nine arrests on St. Hubert’s record over the last eight years.
- In 2010, St. Hubert was charged with assaulting a correction officer.
- May 30, 2014 (seven days after his release from prison) Tanaya Copeland was stabbed to death and St. Hubert is suspected to be the killer.
- June 1, 2014 Prince Avitto stabbed to death and Mikayla Capers critically injured
- June 4, 2014 A homeless man was stabbed at the 18th street subway station in NYC and St. Hubert was reportedly seen in the area, carrying a knife.
- June 4, 2014 St. Hubert was taken into custody after urinating in public and later released.
- Later in the evening of June 4, 2014, St. Hubert was taken into custody again after being caught writing graffiti and charged with Prince Avitto’s murder and Mikayla Capers’ attempted murder.
This is a very sad story and while I am glad they caught the Brooklyn killer, I’m sad that he’s about to enter into another cycle of being institutionalized without proper mental health care.
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