Pregnant NYC woman and partner shot dead in botched home invasion, burglar spares sleeping toddler daughter
Moreno has been earlier arrested for manslaughter and other gun-related crimes
STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK: A pregnant woman and her partner were shot dead inside their home in a New York City borough after a botched burglary. However, their little daughter, who was sleeping, was not touched. The incident happened on Monday, May 11, at about 5 pm when Philip Moreno allegedly entered into the house and gunned down both victims in the living room.
According to law-enforcement sources, the 45-year-old suspect is a convicted killer and has earlier been arrested and sentenced.
Victims, Ana Desousa, 33, who was pregnant, and her partner, Alafia Rodriguez, 46, were found dead on the floor by police. An unidentified 43-year-old woman was also found in the living room with a gunshot wound to the back. She was soon rushed to Richmond University Medical Center, where she remains in critical stage.
Besides, investigators found a two-year-old girl believed to be the deceased couple’s daughter in the Staten Island house. She was unharmed, but she was also sent to the hospital for medical check-ups.
Soon after the incident, officials nabbed Moreno nearby. He was said to be found with a 22-caliber Ruger and zip ties that he apparently intended to restrain the slain pair. Police officials said that the suspect was earlier arrested in July 1992 for the murder of Theodis Watson on Staten Island.
According to the Staten Island Advance, in 1993 again, Moreno was caught for manslaughter and jailed before he was paroled in 2007. New York Police Department Assistant Chief Kenneth Corey said on a press briefing that the suspect, who is expected to be charged on Tuesday, May 12, for double homicide, has several other gun-related convictions.
He also said to the reporters that drugs and a silencer were recovered at the scene. “I can tell you that I observed narcotics and narcotics paraphernalia,” Corey added. While a police source said that the drugs were cocaine.
Some reports claimed that Moreno and Rodriguez were known to each other as the two were friends on Facebook. “The situation is fluid. I’ve shut down any questioning of my client. I’m still attempting to assess the situation,” the suspect’s lawyer, Mark Fonte, said.
Remembering her son, Rodriguez’s mother, Cheryl, said: “He was a great father and an even better man. Ana was a wonderful mother. Everything they did was about their kids. We’re heartbroken.”
Rodriguez’s longtime criminal defense attorney and friend, Mario Gallucci, said the two were together for about four years and were expecting their second child together. “Laf was my first client. I speak to him on a weekly basis, him and Ana. Laf is definitely someone I would consider a friend. He reached out to my wife and I to see how we were doing with the coronavirus, so he is much more than a client," he said.
“The baby they had was beautiful. It’s just a senseless, senseless tragedy,” Gallucci added.
In a similar kind of incident, a Utah couple was gunned down in home invasion in mid-April while three small children slept upstairs. As per reports, Tony Butterfield, 31, and Katherine Butterfield, 30, fought for their lives during an apparent home invasion in West Jordan while their three young children all under the age of four were sleeping upstairs.
While Katherine’s body was found inside the doorway, her husband’s body was discovered in the backyard of the house. Police reports later said that the search for Albert Enoch Johnson, 31, of West Jordan, Utah, in connection with the double murder was on.
Police officials also arrested Johnson’s wife, Sina Johnson, for allegedly helping her husband escape after committing the alleged crime. She was charged with obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence while being held without bail at the Salt Lake County jail.
“Tony and Katherine were beacons of light and goodness,” said Katherine's brother Cameron Crane in an emotional public statement soon after their funeral services. He added that the two were “committed disciples of Jesus Christ who touched countless lives because of their friendships and love.”