Destiny Garcia, 15, told detectives that her mother "was abusive, physically abusive, to her in the past. (Agence France-Presse photo)
The 15-year-old daughter of a woman who was killed along with her boyfriend in Brooklyn was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of murder, the police said.
The police found the bodies of Rosie Sanchez, 38, and Anderson Nunez, 40, who shared an apartment on Batchelder Street, in a public housing complex, on Sunday night. Sanchez's body was found by officers in an easy chair with multiple gunshot wounds; Nunez, found on the floor, had gunshot and stab wounds, the police said.
"We have arrested a 15-year-old in regards to that homicide; she is the daughter of the woman," the chief of detectives, Robert K. Boyce, told reporters. The killings occurred in the final days of last year, but the bodies were not discovered until Sunday when police officers were brought to the apartment, Boyce said.
The girl, Destiny Garcia, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, the police said.
Shortly before midnight on Monday, Garcia appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Court, where prosecutors read the charges against her. They said she had acted in concert with another individual to shoot and stab her mother and her mother's boyfriend. Prosecutors said the boyfriend had been stabbed 30 times, adding that Garcia had made a videotaped confession. A judge ordered her held without bail, over her lawyer's objections.
Boyce said that Garcia had told detectives that her mother "was abusive, physically abusive, to her in the past," but Boyce said that "we don't believe that this is at all, initially, an act of self-defense."
Boyce said the investigation is focused on whether other people were in the apartment with the teenager, and on the origins of the gun used in the killings.
The police were alerted to the murders when a man approached a squad car near the building to report that he had passed the apartment and seen that the door was ajar.
The double homicide brought the preliminary count of murders last year to 350, up from 333 the year before, officials said.
Neighbors in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood were left reeling at the killings and the charges against the female victim's daughter, saying the family had seemed happy and lively.
As investigators went through the apartment Monday morning, the door still had an abundance of Christmas decorations: pictures of Santa and snowmen; red, gold and blue garlands; and a portion of a wall covered in wrapping paper decorated with red bells.
Residents of the red brick building said they were shocked by the killings.
"They were a unit," one neighbor, 52, who lived upstairs from the family and who did not give her name, said about the victims and Garcia.
Sanchez was an effervescent woman who seemed to have a happy life, neighbors said. She always introduced her boyfriend, Nunez, as her husband, and together they hosted house parties, played with their young relatives, and regularly went to the beach with Sanchez's daughter.
"I can't believe it was right here in this building," said another neighbor, Tiffany Jackson, 21.
Jackson said she saw Sanchez and her daughter together often. Sanchez left for work in the mornings alongside Garcia, who was heading to school nearby. Jackson said that while both were friendly, the daughter seemed distant.
"She had an I-don't-want-to-be-here-type attitude, like, 'I can't wait until she leaves,'" Jackson said.
She added that the daughter seemed happiest around her peers.
The 52-year-old upstairs neighbor said that in the summer she watched the daughter join her mother and Nunez on their regular trips to nearby beaches, the whole family dressed in their swimsuits, carrying coolers. In the fall Sanchez and Nunez helped two young boys, who the woman thought were relatives, collect fallen leaves for a school project. She said Sanchez seemed to enjoy time with family, and regularly had relatives over for house parties. "She was very outgoing and warm," the woman said.