Man charged with murder in string of New York City homeless stabbings

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
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A man was arrested in Harlem and charged with murder in connection with the stabbings of three sleeping homeless people. Kemberly Richardson has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A man was arrested in Harlem and charged with murder in connection with the stabbings of three sleeping homeless people in Manhattan.

Treyvon Murphy, 40, was taken into custody after a good Samaritan spotted him sitting at a bus stop near St. Nicholas Park in Harlem.

Ruben Arias, a retired correction officer, spotted Murphy sitting at the bus stop and called 911. Police say he was dressed in the same "Innocence Project" sweatshirt and distinctive neon sneakers he was wearing in surveillance video released by police.

"I look to my right and noticed the man who fit the description of killing the homeless," Arias said. "He had black pullover sweater with 'Innocence,' black and yellow sneakers."

Murphy, who is said to be homeless himself and was residing in local shelters, is charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of assault.

Authorities say Murphy was previously convicted of a crime in Tennessee and given probation, and he was wanted on an outstanding warrant over violating that.

"This suspect should not have been on our streets," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. "He's already convicted in Tennessee and given probation, which he violated."

Police say he attacked a roommate in Queens in April and was released on his own recognizance. He was due back in court on July 22 in that case.

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The surveillance video police released shows the suspect riding a Citibike belonging to his first victim, moments after that victim was killed.

The man was sleeping on a bench in Hudson River Park when he was stabbed in the abdomen around 3 a.m. on July 5 across from 374 West 11th Street.

Three days later, another man was stabbed on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 49th Street.

Then, three days after that, a third man was stabbed as he slept in a playground along the FDR Drive.

Those two men survived their injuries.

In the final incident, police say the suspect waited for several minutes before attacking the victim.

"This incident, caught on video, shows the perpetrator sitting on a bench for approximately 30 minutes while our victim is sleeping alone in the building line," NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said. "The perpetrator puts on a COVID mask, walks over and stabs our victim one time, and walks off."

The Innocence Project released a statement regarding the suspect wearing a sweatshirt with their name.

"The Innocence Project is shocked and saddened by the recent attacks on some of the most vulnerable members of the New York City community," the statement read. "Over time, the Innocence Project has distributed thousands of sweatshirts bearing our logo and they are readily available for purchase on our website. We have not been contacted by any law enforcement organization."

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