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Man Accused Of Killing NYC Nurse He Met On Tinder
Danueal Drayton was extradited from California to New York City to stand trial for the 2018 death of Samantha Stewart.
A Connecticut man accused of strangling a 29-year-old nurse he met on Tinder to death in what has been called a “heinous act of violence” was arraigned in New York City Friday after being extradited from California.
Danueal Drayton, 31, is facing charges of murder, sexual misconduct, grand larceny and other charges in the 2018 death of Samantha Stewart, who was viciously beaten and strangled to death in her Queens home.
Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement announcing the arraignment that Stewart had met Drayton through the dating app Tinder.
The pair went out on a date on July 16, 2018 and later returned to her Springfield Gardens, Queens home where Drayton allegedly beat and strangled her to death and then “engaged in sexual contact with the dead body,” authorities said.
Katz described her death as a “heinous act of violence.”
“The family deserves justice,” she said. “This was a brutal crime that makes every person using a dating app fearful. The victim was duped into going out on a date with the defendant, who played a charmer online but was in fact an alleged sexual predator.”
Stewart’s brother found her body wrapped up in a blanket and “left on the floor in the corner of the bedroom” the next day.
Her teeth had reportedly been knocked out, WNBC reports.
After the killing, Drayton allegedly fled the scene in a white van, which was later discovered at the Kennedy International Airport, and used the victim’s credit card to purchase a ticket to California, authorities said.
When police found him a week later, he was allegedly holding another woman against her will in a North Hollywood hotel room, according to The New York Post. Drayton is facing allegations of forcible rape and premeditated attempted murder in that California case.
"Right after he commit a gruesome murder here and destroy my family, he went to California and just almost did the same thing," Stewart's distraught father Kenneth told local station WCBS after the arrest in 2018. "Thank God they [caught] him before he could destroy another family."
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at the time that the “common denominator” in both cases was the use of dating sites to find his victims.
“So this individual is known to us and it is believed by us that this individual uses dating web sites to meet women and then victimize these women,” Shea said.
At the time of Stewart’s death, Drayton had been out on a $2,000 bail in Nassau County after he was accused of choking a former girlfriend when she tried to break up with him, according to The New York Times.
The judge, prosecutor and Drayton’s public defender were unaware at the time that his bail had been set in the Nassau County case that he had a prior criminal record in Connecticut dating back to 2011, including prior sentences for strangulation, harassment and violating protective orders, according to state court records obtained by the paper.
Drayton had been held in California in connection to the charges he’s facing there before he was extradited back to New York to face the charges in Stewart’s death.
At his arraignment on Friday, Justice Kenneth C. Holder of the New York Supreme Court ruled that Drayton would be held behind bars without bond.
If convicted of the allegations against him, he could face 25 years to life in prison.