New York Daily News: QUEENS, NY – It’s a bitter custody battle with a deadly twist.
A Queens mom, accused of fatally stabbing the father of their infant daughter, now shares the 1-year-old girl with the dead man’s devastated mother as the suspect awaits trial for the murder of her one-time lover.
The creepy custody arrangement leaves baby Jadelyn splitting time between her grandmom and accused killer Kattie Mino, currently free on $50,000 bond in the June 4 stabbing. Mino wasn’t charged until three months after the death of ex-boyfriend Jonathan Estevez, allegedly slain in an escalating argument over the care of their little girl.
“The first time I had to see her, there were so many hard feelings,” said grandmother Karina Coello, who has temporary custody of the child. “It’s still stressful.”
The callous suspect, in statement to investigators after the killing, demanded an attorney and claimed the 25-year-old victim stabbed himself in the neck during a confrontation at her mother’s Queens home.
“He hurt himself,” Mino insisted after the knifing. “What the f–k are we supposed to do? He hurt himself. He’ll wake up in a couple of hours. Go interrogate him.”
Even worse, according to the victim’s family, Estevez was only staying with Mino’s mother and watching their child because she moved in with a new boyfriend — who allegedly threatened the young father with a gun on multiple occasions.
Estevez stayed even after police were called to the house in May because Mino was hitting her mother, said Coello.
“He said, ‘I can’t leave the baby in this house,’” recounted Coello. “Even though they were threatening him. He gave his life for the little girl, so she wouldn’t be harmed.”
Mino was charged with murder, manslaughter and weapons possession in the death, with an upcoming Jan. 6 court date. The victim’s outraged father blasted Gov. Cuomo for bail reforms that let her walk the streets while he can only visit his son in a Queens mausoleum.
“He’s letting all these prisoners out on bail,” said John Estevez, 49, of Northport, L.I. “I guess to save money on prisons.”
According to the heartbroken Coella, who read texts on her slain son’s phone after his death, there is evidence the killing was premeditated. She said one of the texts sent by Mino read bluntly, “Tell Jonathan to leave my house or I’ll stab him.”
Mino’s attorney Jana McNulty insists her client is the victim and the killing was in self-defense.
“There is a lengthy history of physical and other emotional, sexual abuse by the deceased,” she said. “And the incident, what had happened, it was an act of self-defense because the violence and rage had escalated.”
Estevez, the second oldest of six siblings, was in a good place on the day of his death. The aspiring hip-hop artist’s career was trending up, with his YouTube clips collecting tens of thousands of views. One collaboration with another performer garnered more than 600,000 views, while a solo performance under his nom-de-rap GB Tribuvelli broke the 100,000 mark.
“He was getting his life together,” said John Estevez. “His career in rapping was about to take off for him. He had an album that was coming out soon.”
Under the bizarre child care arrangement that began when the accused killer was freed after a jail stay on Rikers Island, Coello drops Jadelyn off twice a week with Mino for supervised visits of two hours. Coello arrives 30 minutes before and after her son’s accused killer to avoid the discomfort of seeing the suspect’s face.
“They took my son’s life away,” said Coella. “What can I say? It’s not something that can be equaled. Justice is moving. But slowly.”
On the four-month anniversary of Jonathan’s death, family and friends gathered at the mausoleum where his ashes were interred. One month later, the still-mourning Coella posted a moving Facebook message about her lost child.
“When a mother sees her son without life, she feels like the death tears her insides, her dreams, her delusions,” she wrote. “I’ll tell you that I will never accept the fact that you are dead — on the contrary, you live more than ever in your kids, your family, your friends, your music.”
Top Feature Photo: Jonathan Estevez, 26, with his 1-year-old daughter Jadelyn. Estevez was allegedly killed by his ex-girlfriend on June 4th – Photo provided by victim’s family