The two suspects Lashawn Mackey, 47, and Terrence Moore, 53, who were arrested on second degree murder charges in the death of 74 year old Maria Hernandez now face the additional charge of aggravated sexual assault, prosecutors said.
Hernandez, who is reportedly a great grandmother discovered face down in her apartment by her sister in her third floor aparement at 126 West 83rd St. around 10 pm.
Her sister reportedly made the discovery after she was unable to reach her via cell phone. She had clothing over her lifeless body and the apartment was ransacked, according to prosecutors who said her hands and feet were bound behind her back.
EMS had pronounced her dead at the scene.
The two suspects were arrested within days. According to prosecutors, Mackey had worked as a handyman at the apartment building in 2022 from May to August following a release from prison.
The indictment handed down by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg said that the two suspects had broken into the superintendents office, and in an apparent bid to avoid detection had cut the wires to the buildings video surveillance system, which they also ripped from the wall and carted away.
But both were spotted by other surveillance systems in the neighborhood. When Mackey was arrested at a homeless shelter, he still had the green shopping cart that he had allegedly stolen from the victim’s apartment.
The elderly victim had apparently put up quite a fight. Police discovered her with bruises and lacerations across her body. Her hands and feet were bound together with rope.
“This was a brutal and callous murder that no family should ever have to experience,” said Manhattan DA Bragg. ““My thoughts are with Ms. Hernandez’s loved ones as they continue to grieve and recover from their loss.”
In addition to second degree murder and aggravated sexual assault charges, the two suspects also each face an additional two counts of robbery.
Bragg thanked NYPD sergeant Eloise Walter and detectives Rachel Lutz, Timothy Kraft and Christopher French for the speedy arrest of the two suspects who were picked up separately within days of the murder.
“This was a brutal and callous murder that no family should ever have to experience.” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg