Weeks after a nurse was killed, another woman was sexually assaulted in a different part of the country. Now, at least one of the families of the victims is outraged knowing that it all could’ve been prevented.
A New York judge reportedly released 27-year-old Danueal Drayton on July 5 apparently not knowing that he had a violent criminal past. Just 12 days later, on July 17, Queens nurse Samantha Stewart was found dead in her apartment. She had also been sexually assaulted, and Drayton is believed to be her killer.
He had previously been charged with strangling his ex girlfriend, 26-year-old Zynea Barney, in Connecticut. Prosecutors and Drayton’s defense lawyers believe he’d still be behind bars had the judge known about his Connecticut rap sheet.
“You can't let a person like this walk out of jail... free without a bond,” Kenneth Stewart, Samantha’s father, told reporters. “My daughter would be living today.”
Drayton is a Connecticut native who authorities claim has killed at least seven women in Connecticut and New York, some of which he met on Tinder, a dating app. Deemed the “Tinder Killer,” he was arrested last week in Los Angeles after police say he raped a woman he met during an Uber ride. He has since pleaded not guilty.
Nassau County prosecutors reportedly sought $7,500 bail for Drayton after he was charged for choking Barney, but Judge Scott Fairgrieve set the bail at $2,000 on July 1, and he was detained. That all changed however on July 5 when Judge Erica Prager freed Drayton on his own recognizance.
Madeline Singas, a spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney, said her office is reviewing why Drayton's Connecticut criminal record, which was available via a national database, was not shown to Judge Prager before she let him go.
“The bail set by Judge Fairgrieve should have been continued at $2,000 bond or $1,000 cash, and Mr. Drayton would have continued to be held in jail,” Brendan Brosh, the DA's spokesman, said in a statement.
So far, Judge Erica Prager hasn’t publicly responded to the controversy.
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