The main suspect in a triple homicide involving Jamaicans in New York in the US was arraigned before the Queens Supreme Court on murder charges on Monday.
The brutal triple murder case occurred in a South Jamaica residence in June of this year.
The accused, 29-year-old Travis Blake was indicted by a grand jury on murder charges and other crimes in the alleged killing of his girlfriend and her family. He was arraigned on a six-count indictment charging him with murder in the first degree, three counts of murder in the second degree, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
According to the indictment, during the early morning hours of June 24, police from the 113th Precinct in Jamaica in Queens, New York, US, responded to a 911 call at the defendant’s residence and found three victims inside the home — 55-year-old Karlene Barnett, her 36-year-old son Dervon Brightly, and her 22-year-old niece Vashawnna Malcolm.
All three of them had been dead for approximately two days, the indictment said.
Malcolm, a nursing student at the University of Technology, Jamaica, had only been in the United States for 10 days, visiting family on summer break from school.
Blake is believed to have been Barnett’s boyfriend. Barnett’s son, Brightly, was a security guard in Times Square.
According to the charges, video surveillance footage showing the entry points of the house on June 22 depicted Blake in the backyard at around 2:50am, apparently bleeding from a hand injury and using a hammer to drive a nail into a beam of wood.
The defendant then entered the house where the victim Brightly had previously entered approximately 30 minutes earlier. Hours later, at around 7:30pm, Barnett entered the residence and never exited again.
According to the charges, on June 24, a witness who also lives in the residence noticed an odour from Malcolm’s bedroom and discovered her body after opening the door.
The witness called 911. Once on the scene, detectives found Malcolm dead in her second-floor bedroom, reportedly undressed from the waist down and bound with duct tape, with several apparent puncture wounds to her chest, according to the indictment.
During a search of the home, police gained entrance to a locked basement door and followed a trail of blood to a bedroom where Barnett was found with apparent head trauma injuries and several puncture wounds to her body.
Police also discovered Brightly in the basement with head trauma injuries and puncture wounds to his body.
Detectives recovered several bloodstained items, including a hammer, screwdriver and a beam of wood with a nail embedded in it, according to the charges. A bloodstained bucket, bloodstained bottles of household cleaner and a mop were also discovered.
The police also recovered the cellphone, passport and valuables of the defendant Blake at the house.
The accused was tracked down by the NYPD’s Regional Task Force in Bar Harbor, Maine, on June 30 and he was extradited back to Queens after he fought the process over the summer. When he was booked at the 113th Precinct and led out in chains on September 16, Blake was still wearing a Bar Harbor T-shirt.
“As alleged, this defendant carried out a horrific triple murder and then fled the state, leaving a devastated family and a mourning community in his wake,” Katz said. “Such brutal disregard for human life will not go unanswered. Despite being on the run immediately following the murders, the defendant is now in custody and faces justice in our courts.”
Justice Ushir Pandit-Durant ordered Blake to return to court on October 18. If convicted, Blake faces up to life in prison.