NEW YORK - A grand jury has indicted a Brooklyn handyman who is accused of stabbing or strangling three elderly women who lived in his building to death.
Kevin Gavin, 66, was arraigned before Justice Vincent Del Giudice in Brooklyn state Supreme Court on Tuesday on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder, according to prosecutors. He pleaded not guilty.
Gavin lived in the Carter G. Woodson Houses, a NYCHA property in the Brownsville section. He did odd jobs for money for residents of his building, including the three victims, authorities said.
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez called Gavin a "serial killer" whose neighbors "trusted him and welcomed him into their homes only to have that trust violated in the worst way imaginable."
Jacolia "Jackie" James was found dead in her apartment on April 30, 2019. (Family handout)
"These victims were mothers, grandmothers and beloved friends whose violent deaths have had a chilling effect inside their housing complex and on the Brownsville community," Gonzalez said in a statement. "We will do everything we can to seek justice for the victims and the many family members and friends who were left without their loved ones."
Gavin is accused of stabbing Myrtle McKinney, 82, in the neck with a steak knife on Nov. 8, 2015, strangling Jacolia James, 83, on April 30, 2019, and strangling Juanita Caballero, 78, with a telephone cord on Jan. 14, 2021, according to the indictment. All three women were found dead in their respective apartments.
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A few days after Caballero was found dead, Gavin was captured on security cameras at several retailers using her stolen debit and benefit cards, the district attorney said in a news release.
Detectives from the NYPD's 73rd Precinct took Gavin into custody on Jan. 21. He waived his right to stay quiet and answered their questions, according to Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison.
Kevin Gavin (center) escorted from a police precinct, Jan. 21, 2021. (FOX 5 NY File)
Gavin told cops that he argued with each of the women over money he claimed they owed him and "fought with each victim prior to their death," according to the DA's office.
After his arrest in January, authorities had said Gavin was already a suspect in the death of James because of "forensic evidence." The DA on Tuesday stated that DNA evidence recovered from her body matched Gavin's.
At the Tuesday arraignment, the judge ordered Gavin held without bail until at least his next court date on July 6. If convicted, Gavin could face life in prison.