NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man accused of fatally stabbing his wife and two young children appeared before a judge to face murder and weapon charges.
Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, did not enter a plea at his arraignment Friday.
Mejia-Ramos is charged with six counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The judge ordered Mejia-Ramos into protective custody and on suicide watch, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported. He is being held without bail and is due back in court on Feb. 14.
WEB EXTRA: Mejia-Ramos Complaint (pdf)
He was arrested Monday in Texas after authorities tracked his cellphone. Authorities believe he was trying to cross the border into Mexico, where he is a citizen.
Authorities said his wife, Deisy Garcia, and two daughters, 1-year-old Yoselin and 2-year-old Daniela, were killed in their bedrooms last Sunday. Other members of the household discovered the gruesome scene, police said.
Prosecutors told the court that Mejia-Ramos first told detectives that his wife killed their two children, but later admitted to the murders, Papa reported.
Mejia-Ramos had been out drinking at a friend’s house on Sunday night, prosecutors said. When he returned to the family’s home in Jamaica around 11 p.m., he rifled through his wife’s phone and Facebook account and found an image of her with another man, they said.
He snapped, grabbed a knife from a butcher block and stood over his sleeping wife and two daughters, they said. Garcia awoke and screamed, and he stabbed her as she got out of bed and ran to another room, prosecutors said. Mejia-Ramos grabbed another knife and stabbed her multiple times in the torso, chest and back, they said.
After the 21-year-old woman was killed, Mejia-Ramos went back to the bedroom where Daniela and Yoselin lay, prosecutors said. He picked up Daniela, gave her a hug and a kiss, asked for forgiveness, then put her back on the bed and killed her, prosecutors said. He then did the same with Yoselin, they said.
Mejia-Ramos told detectives on a flight back to New York City that he killed the children because “he didn’t have car seats to take them with him,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The DA’s office said Mejia-Ramos told investigators he tried to kill himself after the murders.
Authorities said detectives recovered four knives, a bent knife blade and a knife handle with what appeared to be blood on them at the scene.
Mejia-Ramos took all of his wife’s cash to make his getaway because he had seen the show “I (Almost) Got Away With It” on the Discovery Channel and didn’t want to be traced through his credit card, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Brown’s office said police have investigated Mejia-Ramos for domestic violence and that he and his wife were planning to separate before the murder.
CBS 2’s Sonia Moghe spoke with the victims’ family in an exclusive interview Friday.
Garcia’s sister, Evelinda Alvarado, said what happened is painful and she wants justice.
Alvarado said the family never saw any signs of aggression between the husband and wife.
Alvarado also told Moghe she had dinner with her sister and nieces every Sunday. But last week, she found their bodies in their Jamaica apartment.
The family is trying to get the victims buried in their native Guatemala, Papa reported.
“I have seen a lot in my 23 years as District Attorney but there is nothing more disturbing than seeing children — in this case mere babies — as victims of violence,” Brown said in a statement.
Brown told the family there would be no plea bargaining in the case.
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