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Judge Finds Brooklyn Child Stabbing Suspect Fit To Stand Trial

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man accused of stabbing two children in a Brooklyn public housing development elevator – killing one – was found fit to stand trial on Friday.

As CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon reported Friday, 6-year-old Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto was killed and his friend, 7-year-old Mikayla Capers, was injured in the stabbing on Sunday, June 1.

Daniel St. Hubert, 27, of Brooklyn, was arrested and charged in the case a few days later.

St. Hubert appeared in court on a video feed from Bellevue Hospital on Friday. A Brooklyn judge declared him fit to stand trial.

“He’s fit. That’s all we need right there. Nothing wrong with him,” said P.J.’s mother, Aricka McClinton. “He killed my son. God got you.”

The monstrous knife attack at the Boulevard Houses public housing development in East New York horrified the city.

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 later in June.

Family members of both children were in the courtroom Friday as the judge made his ruling about St. Hubert’s mental fitness.

“The bottom line is that we’re all glad that he was found fit and he’s competent to stand trial, and he’s going to get what he deserves,” said Scott Avitto, P.J.’s uncle.

St. Hubert was diagnosed years ago with paranoid schizophrenia. His attorney said St. Hubert is medicated now, but that doesn’t mean he was sane when the crimes were committed.

“Certainly, when you’re dealing with somebody who has an extensive psychiatric history, and a crime that clearly would only be committed by somebody with some significant mental problems, certainly that’s an issue,” said defense attorney Edward Friedman.

But the victims’ families did not buy that claim. They said the evidence will prove St. Hubert not only committed the horrendous crime, but knew what he did was wrong.

“Everyone keeps trying to say that the man has a mental issue. We know that. But he’s not crazy,” Scott Avitto said. “He knew enough to cut and try to change his appearance.”

St. Hubert has not been charged in the murder of Tanaya Copeland, 18, in East New York, just two days before the attack in the elevator. But he is still the prime suspect in that case.

Copeland’s friends were also at the courthouse, with messages for law enforcement to find the evidence to charge Saint Hubert or whoever is responsible.

St. Hubert is also suspected, but has not been charged, in another stabbing in Manhattan, a few days after the crimes in Brooklyn. The attack happened on a No. 1 train platform in Chelsea.

The victim in that case was a 53-year-old homeless man who survived.

St. Hubert faces life in prison if convicted in the child stabbing case.

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