Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More mayhem

And so it goes on.

Homeless Man Allegedly Strangles Pace Student, Watches Horror Flick

NEW YORK-Jeromie Cancel, 22, was charged Tuesday night with the suffocation murder of a Pace University honors student.

Kevin Pravia, 19, a college honors student found dead in his bed by his Manhattan roomate, with an electrical cord wrapped around his neck apparently was suffocated with a pillow during a robbery by a stranger he invited to his apartment Sunday night, police said Tuesday.
The victim was last seen being helped into a taxi early Saturday after a party in Brooklyn and was reportedly drunk at the time.

Investigators said Tuesday that Cancel, who was being questioned in an unrelated case, admitted suffocating Pravia and stealing his cell phone, laptop computer and iPod. He was charged late Tuesday with first- and second-degree murder, News 4 New York has learned.
Cancel claimed Pravia approached him in Union Square park around 6 a.m. Saturday looking for drugs and the two went to his apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood. After the slaying, Cancel, stayed in the apartment to watch the gory horror film "Saw" before leaving before 11 a.m., police said.

No drugs were found at the scene, and there was no indication of sexual assault, police said.
The medical examiner's office said an autopsy was inconclusive and additional tests were being performed to determine what caused Pravia's death. There was no sign of forced entry, police said.

Cancel, a homeless man, told investigators that Pravia fell asleep and he decided to rob him, so he punched the student in the face, stuffed a bag in his mouth and wrapped the television cord around his neck, then suffocated him, police said. He said he sold the laptop on the street after leaving the apartment, sold the cell phone in a store and couldn't remember what he did with the iPod, they said.

Browne said police recovered the phone where it had been sold.
Cancel’s father, Jesus Desoto, said his son knocked on his door early Monday at about 1 a.m.
Desoto, who said he is not on good terms with his son, said Cancel gloated about he had just “killed a man.”

Desoto said Cancel was smiling when he said he had killed someone. The suspect’s father then said he went into his apartment and called 911. He said Cancel confessed to the murder to the police there.
Desoto said Cancel did not talk about how he killed or why, he only said he did it.
Pravia, who was a sophomore at Pace University, originally was from Peru, Mass., near the Connecticut and New York borders.

Pace University officials said they were saddened by the news and offered sympathy to Pravia's loved ones. Grieving friends quickly cobbled a Facebook page dedicated to the student and expressing shock over his death.

Pravia was a 2007 graduate of Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, where counselors were available Tuesday to help staff and students deal with the loss. Principal James Conro remembered Pravia as a "quiet, polite and respectful young man."
"My heart goes out to the family," Conro told The Berkshire Eagle, of Pittsfield, Mass. "It's a tough way to lose a son and a brother."

Pravia's brother Michael, 16, a junior at Wahconah, was scheduled to fly to Germany on Tuesday to take part in a youth exchange program but reportedly canceled the trip.