St. Hubert Ordered Held Without Bail; Faces Up To Life In Prison If Convicted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man charged with stabbing a 6-year-old boy to death and critically injuring a 7-year-old girl inside an elevator in Brooklyn was back in court Friday.

Daniel St. Hubert, 27, of Brooklyn, was arraigned Thursday night on murder, attempted murder, assault and other charges in connection with the fatal attack on 6-year-old Prince Joshua “P.J.” Avitto and his friend, 7-year-old Mikayla Capers.

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As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, St. Hubert glared at the courtroom before turning to face the judge in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Friday.

He appeared wearing the same clothes in which he was arrested on Wednesday night – tightly handcuffed, and surrounded by five armed officers. His public defender attorney, Edward Friedman, stood at his side.

“At this point, all I know is what I see on television and read in the papers,” Friedman said.

Friedman met with St. Hubert briefly, just moments before the two-minute court appearance. But said he planned to spend the day getting information from his new client in jail.

“Everything is up for exploration at this point,” Friedman said.

St. Hubert was ordered held without bail at the hearing, and will return to court on June 11. He faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

No psychiatric evaluation was ordered, although St. Hubert has a history of mental illness and hospitalizations, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

Web Extra: Watch St. Hubert’s Entire 6/6/14 Court Appearance

“This defendant is accused of viciously attacking innocent and defenseless children who were trapped in an elevator with him,” said Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson. “Prince Joshua Avitto was taken far before his time and his family will struggle with this for years to come, as will 7-year-old Mikayla Capers. We are committed to seeking justice for them and to holding this defendant accountable for his actions.”

On Thursday night, St. Hubert faced a screaming, angry crowd as police transferred him from the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg to Central Booking in downtown Brooklyn.

It was the suspected killer’s first public appearance since being charged with murder of the two children.

Police said the attack against the children happened around 6 p.m. Sunday inside the Boulevard Houses in East New york 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 Friday.

Mikayla remained in critical, but stable, condition on Friday. At P.J.’s funeral, the crowd erupted into cheers when they were told Mikayla had been moved out of the intensive care unit.

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Prosecutors said St. Hubert was seen running away from the building where the stabbings occurred and said he dropped a knife with blood on it. They said the knife had DNA matching St. Hubert.

Police said St. Hubert is also a suspect in the subway stabbing of a homeless man Wednesday on the southbound No. 1 train platform at 18th Street in Chelsea.

Police spokesman Stephen Davis said St. Hubert was seen on surveillance video near the subway station where the attack occurred and witnesses said a man who looked like St. Hubert was seen on the subway platform.

The victim in that case was recovering in a hospital on Friday.

St. Hubert is also being eyed as a suspect in the stabbing death of 18-year-old Tanaya Copeland on Friday that happened just a few blocks away from Sunday’s attack at the Boulevard Houses, police said.

A similar knife was found at the scene of Copeland’s slaying, police said.

St. Hubert has not yet been formally charged in those two cases. Police said investigators are still testing forensic evidence.

He is also charged with scrawling graffiti after officers witnessed him writing “Killzz I Will Bk,” along with a smiley face and winking eye on a stop sign shortly before his arrest Wednesday, police said.

Investigators said he was armed with an 8-inch knife when he was found blocks away from his mother’s house. After his arrest Wednesday night, police said St. Hubert was angrily ranting to himself in a holding cell.

Investigators said St. Hubert had been let out of prison on 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.

According to court records, he was arrested in May 2009 after punching his mother in the face and wrapping an electrical cord around her head.

After that, St. Hubert was eventually sent to a psychiatric facility for seven months.

“You never know who you’re living next to, you know. We say hi and goodbye, and you know, try to be neighborly. But you really just don’t know,” said Robert Austin, a neighbor of St. Hubert’s.

Police are now looking into all stabbings that have occurred citywide since St. Hubert was released.

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