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Victims’ Family Members Crowd Courtroom As Brooklyn Stabbing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An ex-convict accused of viciously stabbing two children – leaving one dead – pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Brooklyn courtroom full of furious family members.

As CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported, Daniel St. Hubert, 27, of Brooklyn, appeared in court for a new arraignment, following an indictment last month on one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count each of third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He was charged in connection with the monstrous knife attack at the Boulevard Houses public housing development in East New York that left 6-year-old Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto dead and 7-year-old Mikayla Capers critically wounded.

The children were playing outside that Sunday evening when they went upstairs to get some ice cream from P.J.’s sixth-floor apartment.

That was when police said St. Hubert followed them into the elevator and used a steak knife to stab each child multiple times. P.J. died at a hospital and was buried last month.

Dozens of the children’s family members were in the courtroom Wednesday. Among them was Aricka McClinton, P.J.’s mother.

“Our baby’s been murdered by this monster, this killer, freak,” McClinton said. “Who does this to kids?”

Mikayla’s great-grandmother, Regina Trevathan, saw St. Hubert for the first time Wednesday.

“We won’t speak of him. We don’t think of him,” Trevathan said. “He has his day in court, and we’ll be here till the end.”

Meanwhile, St. Hubert is also the main suspect in the stabbing death of Tanaya Copeland, 18.

The nursing student was killed two days before the two children were stabbed, and a few blocks away. But St. Hubert has not been charged in that case.

“Hopefully, like I said, we will have our victory,” said Tanaya Copeland’s mother, Rochelle Copeland.

St. Hubert has a long criminal history. Investigators said he had been let out of prison May 23 after serving a five-year sentence for domestic assault and attempted murder for trying to kill his ex-girlfriend.

He also has nine prior arrests, including two for assaulting police and correction officers.

Back in 2008, his own mother filed an order of protection against him. Months later, police said he punched her numerous times in the face, wrapped an electrical cord around her head and told her he was going to kill her.

After the incident with his mother, St. Hubert was sent to a psychiatric facility for seven months.

St. Hubert’s defense attorney said his client is not competent for trial.

“There is some comprehension,” said defense attorney Ed Friedman. “Whether it’s comprehension that’s legally sufficient is another thing.”

St. Hubert was expected to enter an insanity plea. He did not speak during the hearing and is due back in court in August.

St. Hubert faces life in prison if convicted.

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