Deerfield Beach man tells cops he hunted down, killed homeless man

Posted on December 1st, by Sean Cononie in Uncategorized. No Comments

Deerfield Beach man tells cops he hunted down, killed homeless man


By Susannah Bryan and Charlie Grau, Sun Sentinel9:43 p.m. EST, December 1, 2012

— For two weeks, John Stabile told police, he had murder on his mind.

Early Saturday morning, he saw the homeless man he intended to kill in an alley. He had nothing particularly against him, Stabile said later.

He ran home for a butcher’s knife, returned to plunge the blade into his 42-year-old victim, then waited for the man to die before calling 911.

That’s the story Stabile told homicide investigators with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

When detectives arrived, he was waiting for them, sitting on a curb with a knife in his waistband.

He told them he had stabbed a homeless man and waited to be sure the wounds were fatal before calling authorities.

Stabile, 23, was charged with first-degree murder and booked into the Broward County Main Jail. He told police he wanted to go to jail for the rest of his life — and that if he didn’t, he would kill again, officials said.

“I’m in shock,” his uncle, Angelo Saccente, said in a phone interview from Selden, N.Y. “He’s not a bad kid. There’s another side to the story of why Johnny did what he did.”

Saccente said his nephew was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2009, shortly after his mother committed suicide.

Stabile has been in and out of mental hospitals ever since, his uncle said. Two years ago, he left New York for Deerfield Beach to be near his father.

“He imagines people are coming after him,” Saccente said of his nephew. “It’s a shame what he did. He just needs his medicine. We feel so bad — for the victim.”

Authorities were withholding the victim’s name on Saturday until they notify next of kin.

On Saturday, Stabile called deputies to the scene at 7:06 a.m.

Officials said he told them he stabbed his victim in an alley behind Rattlesnake Jake’s restaurant and the Sea Girl clothing shop, in the 2000 block of Ocean Drive, just blocks from the beach. It was unclear Saturday how many times Stabile stabbed his victim.

Stabile told deputies he had never had any problems with the man, known to some as “Brad,” but had been thinking of killing him for a couple of weeks.

When Stabile saw the man again on Saturday, he raced back to his apartment for a knife and returned to carry out the attack, detectives said.

The slaying left some in the neighborhood in shock.

“This is like a little Mayberry,” said Donald Mooney, who works at a nearby motel. “It’s very safe here. You don’t even see fights down here.”

Henry Deleon, a regular at Rattlesnake Jake’s, says the homeless man kept to himself and never bothered anyone.

“I always saw him going through the garbage looking for food,” Deleon said. “The police officer told me he was killed while he was sleeping.”

Several people described the victim as a friendly soul who frequently gave away bags of candy.

“He would give anybody the shirt off his back,” said Joe Allman, a Deerfield Beach resident. “All he wanted to do was listen to his headphones and chill.”

Molly McGee, a 10-year local resident, agreed.

“He would not even hurt a fly.”

The killing did not surprise homeless advocate Sean Cononie, who noted that Florida is one of the top states in the country for hate crimes against the homeless.

Homeless people are especially vulnerable to attack because many of them sleep on the streets, said Cononie, who runs the Homeless Voice shelter in Hollywood.

“People who live on the streets are naturally a target because they have no doors, alarms or windows to keep intruders out,” Cononie said.

Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.

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