Police in Newburgh arrest 'extremely dangerous' murder suspect

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Marcus Solis has the latest on a man fatally beaten at a Newburgh shelter.

Police in Newburgh have arrested a suspect wanted in the murder of a 61-year-old man at a shelter for men who have recently been released from prison.

51-year-old Wilfredo Mercado, registered as a level three sex offender, is now facing charges of second degree murder in the death of Robert Munson.

Police say Munson worked as a Youth Advocate Programs Advocate since 2014 and worked the overnight shift at a home on Grand Street.

YAP offers transitional life skills training to homeless men, including some formerly incarcerated persons.

Munson worked the security desk as an overnight manager.

"People that were coming in or leaving, he would sign then in or sign them out," said Newburgh Police Sgt. Joseph Rutigliano. "If they were leaving he would hold the key to their room until they returned."

Police say Munson, who had worked there three years, was attacked inside and died as a result of the assault.

One resident called Munson a positive guy who always had encouraging words for those who were staying there.

"Very tragic situation, good guy. He was at work, shouldn't have happened like that," said the resident.

The organization released a statement:
"We are devastated by the death of our colleague, Robert Munson. He was with YAP for over three years and was passionate about his work helping homeless men in Newburgh get back on their feet. We are all grieving this incomprehensible loss."

For neighbors, it is a shock. "He liked to help his community and his fellow people. He worked with people who were at a disadvantage," said the victim's neighbor, Joanne Lanzotti.

It is unclear what led to the deadly confrontation. An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death.

Authorities say Mercado, a career criminal, had just been released from prison last month after serving the maximum time for a parole violation.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday and is being held without bail.

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