updated: March 24, 2006
Finally, the news everyone has been waiting for. The Boston Herald:
NEW YORK -- Darryl Littlejohn, the Manhattan bouncer whose DNA allegedly was found on plastic straps used to bind Imette St. Guillen's wrists, was indicted today on charges of murdering the Boston native.
Littlejohn, 41, will be arrested at Riker's Island tonight where he is being held on probation violations, sources tell the Herald today.
He will then be booked and fingerprinted at the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn, not far from the deserted area where St. Guillen's body was found Feb. 25.
St. Guillen's family is en route to New York City to be present at tomorrow's arraignment of Littlejohn. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is also expected to hold a press conference tomorrow.
Littlejohn was charged with first-degree murder involving sexual abuse. The two counts of second-degree murder he was charged with would allow for a conviction if it's determined the crime was not premeditated.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced the indictment at a news conference.
Despite all the media furor the case has ignited and the lurid headlines, defense attorney Kevin O'Donnell of Kew Gardens said he won't try to move the trial out of Brooklyn (Kings County).
Immediately after the arraignment, Saint-Guillen's sister, Alejandra, her voice trembling with emotion, read a statement as her mother, Maureen, stood beside her.
"Imette was a good person, a kind person. Her heart was full of love - a love she willingly shared with her friends and family. She had a passion for life and a thirst for seeing the world and learning new things," said Alejandra. "New York was Imette's home. She loved the city and its people, and you have honored her memory with your outpouring of love and support for her and our family."
The family also clarified that Imette's last name is correctly spelled as "Saint-Guillen."
Forensic evidence, according to NYPD, linking Darryl Littlejohn to Imette Saint-Guillen's murderer:
DNA: His blood was found on white ties used to bind Saint-Guillen. The same ties - typically used to bind electrical wiring - were recovered from Littlejohn's home in South Jamaica.
CLOTHES: Brown mink hair and blue rabbit hair from two jackets found in Littlejohn's South Jamaica home were found in Littlejohn's Ford Windstar van. The hairs were also found on the packaging tape wrapped around Saint-Guillen's head and on the floral quilted bedspread wrapped around her body.
CARPET FIBERS: Fibers from Littlejohn's home were also found in the Windstar, on the packaging tape wrapped around Saint-Guillen's head and on the bedspread.
Finally, questions remain about the status of the rape charge and of a possible accomplice.
On a CBS interview last night Littlejohn emphasized his innocence, saying that he had escorted St. Guillen from the Falls because it was closing time. He did not say what happened after that, but said that the police had focused on him because of his past. "I'm a likely suspect because I have a criminal background and I wasn't supposed to be there working." His lawyer has said that at today's afternoon arraignment, he'll plead not-guilty.
So far the strength of the case tying Littlejohn to St. Guillen's gruesome final moments, at least as it has been revealed to the public, is sketchy. Though the press online and off, ourselves included, have been more than happy to fill in the details all that the police have actually said publicly is that Mr. LIttlejohn "is the last person known to have seen Ms. St. Guillen alive, and that his DNA matches DNA found on plastic ties used to bind her." Besides being charged with first-degree murder Littlejohn has also been charged with second-degree murder, "to allow the jury that eventually hears his case to convict him of killing the John Jay College honors student even if it finds the murder was not premeditated." He is not being charged with rape as the City's forensic evidence couldn't pin any of it to him.
Bouncer charged in student's slaying [CNN, Mar. 22, 2006]
Grand Jury Indicts Bouncer in Student's Savage Killing [NY Times, Mar. 22, 2006]
Forensics the key, DA says [Newsday, Mar. 24, 2006]