NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The suspect accused of shoving a 61-year-old man in front of a subway train and killing him faced a judge Wednesday and was ordered held without bail.
Wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt and a stone cold face, Kevin Darden, 34, said nothing during his arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court, CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
Darden did not enter a plea Wednesday, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
Darden did not enter a plea. Judge did not allow photos. Was wearing gray hoodie and jeans, eyes darting back and forth as he entered court
— Alex Silverman (@AlexSilverman) November 20, 2014
Darden’s public defender spoke to the media Wednesday.
“Kevin Darden is a human being. He’s not a monster,” said public defender Edward McGowan. “Like any human being who’s charged with a crime, he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence and a vigorous defense, which I can guarantee he’s going to receive.”
In unusual move for public defender, subway push suspect's lawyer made statement to media. "Kevin Darden is a human being, not a monster."
— Alex Silverman (@AlexSilverman) November 20, 2014
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, Darden was arrested on a murder charge Tuesday in the death of Wai Kuen Kwok.
Police arrested Daren after a massive manhunt. Police said more charges against him could follow.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday tweeted “outstanding job” along with a photo of detectives from the 44th Precinct in the Bronx who helped capture Darden.
— Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton) November 19, 2014
Darden said nothing as police escorted him out of the 44th precinct house in the Bronx overnight.
Detectives picked him up at his mother’s house on Grand Avenue, about five miles from the Grand Concourse and East 167th Street D Train station in Highbridge.
That was where Kwok was standing with his wife Sunday morning when Darden shoved him onto the tracks as the D train approached the station, police said. Kwok died at the scene.
Police said there was no indication that Darden knew Kwok and there was no previous altercation between the two men.
James Muriel was operating the train. Earlier this week, he told CBS2 he immediately applied the brake, but there wasn’t enough time to stop.
“You could feel when the train went over him,” he said. “A passenger in my car was crying. I was crying. I needed help getting out of the cab because my legs went numb.”
Surveillance cameras captured a man police identified as Darden shortly after the attack.
He was seen boarding a Bx35 bus. Police said he then got off the bus minutes later, entered a bodega and eventually left, nonchalantly smoking a cigarette.
Darden has a long rap sheet. He has been arrested 44 times overall, and eight times this year alone in New York City. His crimes include assault, robbery and drugs.
Police said they believe Darden also pushed a man at the West 4th Street station in Greenwich Village on Nov. 6.
Investigators said a 51-year-old man reported he was shoved to the ground, injuring his hand and back.
Sources said the investigation took off when the victim from that incident was able to identify Darden in a police lineup and link him to Sunday’s case.
Sources also said police believe Darden robbed a man at another Bronx subway station about a half-hour before Sunday’s deadly incident, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
So far, Darden has only been charged in Kwok’s death.
Darden has also been in trouble in other states.
The fire marshal in Longview, Texas, said Darden was arrested in 2011, accused of trying to burn down his brother’s house there, Grymes reported. He was released on bond, but the marshal said he was never indicted due to a lack of evidence.
Darden’s nephew, Javon Kennard, told CBS affiliate KYTX they haven’t seen him since that arrest.
“We really don’t communicate with him,” Kennard said. “We tried to help him, but Kevin is Kevin. He’s going to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it.”
Kennard offered his condolences to Kwok’s wife.
“If you lose your loved one like that, no reason, I know it’s killing her, and I’m so sorry,” Kennard said.
Detectives said Kwok, who relative say worked for a kitchen supply company, and his wife had been headed to Chinatown to have breakfast for her birthday at the time of the incident.
The Kwok family released a statement after Darden’s arrest, saying, “We extend our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of condolences, prayers, and support during this difficult time.”
MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Prendergast said Wednesday the agency is “exploring ways in which we can try to limit the potential for that happening, and if there’s ways we can do it technologically, we will.”
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, that could include an intrusion-detection system, which would warn if someone was on the tracks or trapped between doors on a platform — although that likely wouldn’t have helped in Kwok’s case.
“It’s disturbing,” Prendergast said. “There’s no way, shape or form it wouldn’t be disturbing.”
The MTA chief noted there are nearly 6 million riders in the subway system every day.
“And if you take a look at the crime rate, it’s amazing at how low it is,” said Prendergast, who credited policing of the system.
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