NEW YORK - An ex-convict pleaded not guilty Wednesday to viciously stabbing two small children, leaving one dead, reports CBS New York. The Brooklyn courtroom was filled with furious family members of the victims.
Daniel St. Hubert, 27, was in court for a new arraignment following an indictment last month on one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count each of third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to the station.
The Brooklyn man was charged in connection with the June 1 knife attack at a public housing development in East New York that killed 6-year-old Prince Joshua "P.J." Avitto and critically wounded 7-year-old Mikayla Capers.
The children had been playing outside that Sunday evening before going up to get some ice cream from P.J.'s sixth-floor apartment. That was when St. Hubert allegedly followed them into the elevator and used a steak knife to stab each child multiple times, according to CBS New York.
P.J. died at a hospital and was buried last month.
Aricka McClinton, the boy's mother, was among the dozens of family members in the courtroom Wednesday. "Our baby's been murdered by this monster, this killer, freak," she told the station. "Who does this to kids?"
Mikayla's great-grandmother, Regina Trevathan, said she saw St. Hubert for the first time Wednesday. "We won't speak of him. We don't think of him," she said. "He has his day in court, and we'll be here till the end."
CBS New York reports Copeland was killed two days before P.J. and Mikayla were stabbed, and only a few blocks away. However, St. Hubert has not been charged in that case.
The suspect has a long criminal history, according to the station. Investigators said he had been let out of prison May 23 after serving a 5-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.
In 2008, St. Hubert's mother filed an order of protection against him. Months later, police said he punched her several times in the face, wrapped an electrical cord around her head and told her he was going to kill her. He was sent to a psychiatric facility for seven months following the incident.
The station reports St. Hubert's defense attorney said his client is not competent for trial. "There is some comprehension," attorney Ed Friedman said. "Whether it's comprehension that's legally sufficient is another thing."
The suspect did not speak during the hearing, according to CBS New York. He is due back in court in August. If convicted, he faces life in prison.