New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – A man stopped by cops in a stolen Mercedes-Benz in the Bronx has been charged with the random stabbing death of a doctor in a Harlem park, fatally slashing a stranger’s neck on a Lower East Side sidewalk, and stabbing two customers inside an East Harlem bar — all part of a vicious, unhinged spree over several days that ended with the suspect’s Christmas Eve capture.
Cops working through the holiday rush connected the bloody dots linking the two murders with the separate knife attack at a pub to suspect Roland Codrington, 35, who was finally in handcuffs late Saturday night.
“Because of the work of the absolutely greatest detectives in the world, and with the extraordinary aid of the officers who were on patrol who work tirelessly to keep New Yorkers safe, the women and men of the NYPD have once again shown their resolve to bring to justice a perpetrator and stop a crime pattern,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
Codrington was arraigned Monday before Judge Lisa Sokoloff in Manhattan Supreme Court, and charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of assault, and one count of criminal mischief.
Codrington stood with his hands cuffed behind his back and his feet shackled. He was wearing a black puffer jacket with a black hood, red pants and gray and white sneakers. A blue face mask covered his face.
“The defendant was in Marcus Garvey Park, stabbing a 60-year-old man 30 times all over his body with no known provocation, leaving him alone and dead in the pitch black rain,” said assistant DA Rachel Movius of Codrington’s alleged final victim, pediatrician Bruce Maurice Henry.
Prosecutors said Codrington fled in the dead man’s car after the brutal knife attack.
“I was in a dead man’s car, what do you think it means?” Codrington told cops after his arrest, according to court papers. “After the incident at [the East Harlem bar], I walked to the park and a guy made a comment to me that caused me to snap. My friend had to stop me. After, I was standing up and the guy was laying on the ground under me. I used the same knife that I used in the other two incidents. I got rid of the knife in the Hudson River.”
Codrington was remanded without bail.
Cops said the deadly spree began on Dec. 19 outside Spike’s Bar on Avenue A near 13th St. There, James Cunningham, 51, was slashed in a horrifying attack that left a gaping 10-inch wound on his neck and blood pouring onto the sidewalk.
The killer had argued with the victim for 20 seconds before slashing him without warning, video viewed by the Daily News shows.
“They have no prior interaction, they bump into each other,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a Monday news conference. “They have a 20-second dispute and the perpetrator just takes out a knife and slashes him in the neck and leaves.
Codrington’s girlfriend watched that attack unfold, the video shows.
Three days later, on Thursday night at about 11:30 pm. Codrington showed up at Teddy’s Bar on Second Ave. near E. 112th St. in East Harlem, where workers said he was a regular. Codrington allegedly attacked a female bartender with a baseball bat, damaging the area behind the bar.
Essig said Codrington had previously been kicked out of the bar and felt he had been disrespected by employees there.
When two patrons — both of them Marines — tried to stop him and pull him off the woman, Codrington allegedly pulled a knife and stabbed them. All three were treated for their injuries and survived.
His girlfriend was present for that incident as well, officials said.
“I’d like to think the perpetrator was still conscious of his actions in the moments when we were attacked inside the bar,” said one of the victims, Gabriel, 35. “I told him after we were stabbed and he moved to outside the bar counter, ‘We just wanted you to stop. Everything is fine, man. We just want you to stop.’
“I do remember fearing another attack from the perpetrator because i was compromised,” Gabriel said. “Afterwards, I was very full of anger particularly to the perpetrator having hid his knife and of how little regard the perpetrator had for the damage that weapon could inflict.”
The other victim, 31, remains in the hospital. “I had a sucking chest wound due to at least two stabs in the back and one in the chest which pierced my diaphragm,” he told The News. “I am in OK condition now, but I have four chest tubes still in.”
After the bar attack, cops named Codrington as a suspect, released his photo and asked for the public’s help tracking him down. They had not yet connected him to the Lower East Side homicide three days earlier.
Just three hours later, at about 2:15 a.m. Friday, a passerby found the body of Dr. Henry in Marcus Garvey Park. Henry, 60, suffered slash and stab wounds to his back, torso, buttocks, one eye, and his palms.
Henry was a pediatrician who lived in the Bronx and practiced in Nyack. He would have turned 61 the day after his death, his long-lost half-brother told the Daily News in an exclusive interview Sunday.
Police said Codrington ran into Henry in the park shortly after the incident at Teddy’s Bar and attacked him with a knife.
“He sees the Citizen app come over on [the bar attack], he says he’s going to take a walk through the park to cool off,” Essig said. “That’s when he encounters [Henry] there. There’s some verbal exchange where he becomes enraged and stabs him numerous times.”
Detectives found security video which showed Codrington and his girlfriend breaking into Henry’s Mercedes-Benz and driving off in it, cops said Monday.
Later Friday, police identified Codrington as a suspect in the Avenue A neck slashing and issued an alert for the stolen Mercedes, leading to his arrest in the Bronx.
“Three sharp-eyed police officers from the 30th Precinct made the apprehension of the Mercedes with no incidents,” NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said Monday. “Thank God we put this to an end.”
Codrington, who lives in East Harlem, has 12 prior arrests stretching back to 2006.
He was arrested for auto theft in 2022, two assaults in 2021, twice in 2017 for assault with a weapon, once in 2013 for possession of a knife, a knifepoint robbery in 2008 and a knife assault in 2006.
In 2018, he was convicted of “stabbing someone in the back four times, slashing his face, as well as stabbing a 15-year-old girl in the back who got caught in the middle,” assistant DA Movius said.
Cunningham, who died of the neck slash on Avenue A, had lived in New York City since 1990, said Mitch Okun, 52, who is the current partner of the victim’s ex-wife.
“We’re satisfied that something happened,” Okun said about the arrest. “It doesn’t do anything to solve what happened to him, but it’s good to hear.”
Essig said the investigation is ongoing, and that Codrington’s girlfriend had not been charged.
Top Feature Photo: On Dec 19, 2022, outside Spike’s Bar on Avenue A near 13th St in Manhattan, James Cunningham, 51, was allegedly slashed by Roland Codrington (in black coat). The killer argued with the victim for 20 seconds before slashing him without warning. A woman is also pictured in a hoodie – Obtained by Daily News