Dad DARRELL EVANS, who was arrested by police as he was walking out the front door of the house where the murders took place, has been charged in the shooting deaths of his 9-year-old daughter and her babysitter. Check out Dad's long sheet: 12 previous arrests in New York state, 3 for violent felonies.
Man accused of killing daughter and sitter has long rap sheet
By Will David and Shawn Cohen • email@example.com • January 8, 2010
MOUNT VERNON - A Mount Vernon man with a long arrest history was arrested Thursday night on charges he shot and killed his 9-year-old daughter and her baby sitter, police said.
Ayana Evans and her baby sitter, Lorna Williams, 42, were found in different rooms on the second floor of the Evans home at 8 Ellwood Ave. by police.
The girl's father, Darrell Evans, 50, walked out of the front door as police arrived and immediately surrendered, Mount Vernon Police Chief Barbara Duncan said at a press conference this morning. Cops found Williams dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the head. Ayana Evans, shot in the torso, was still breathing and was rushed to Mount Vernon Hospital, where she died in the emergency room.
Police recovered a handgun at the house and are testing it to determine if it was used in the shootings.
Police responded to the two-story red brick home after Ayana's mother, Joan Whitfield, called to report that she had a telephone argument with her husband and was on her way home from her job as a registered nurse at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan. Chief Duncan said that by the time Whitfield arrived home, her daughter was already on the way to Mount Vernon Hospital.
"Obviously she's under quite a bit of stress and strain," Duncan said of Whitfield, who served in the military in the Middle East.
The chief said that police are trying to determine a motive for the shootings, saying that "right now it seems like there was some type of domestic disturbance."
She said the couple is married but police did not know if Darrell Evans lived in the house; his last known address is on Williams Avenue in Brooklyn. However, the owner of the Mount Vernon home, Dan Amicucci, said Evans did not live there. Police are researching their records to determine if there had been any previous domestic calls at the home.
Police had little information about the baby sitter, saying only that Williams is from Florida. Duncan said Whitfield and her daughter had recently moved to Mount Vernon but could not say how long they've been there or where they lived earlier.
Darrell Evans was arraigned late Friday morning in Mount Vernon City Court, charged with one count of first-degree murder, a felony. First-degree murder is charged in cases of multiple killings. Judge Adam Seiden ordered him held without bail at the Westchester County Jail and scheduled a felony hearing for Jan. 14.
Duncan said Darrelll Evans has 12 previous arrests in New York state, three of them for violent felonies. None of the incidents was in Westchester. She did not know how many convictions he had, or what the violent felonies were.
Amicucci, the homeowner, said Whitfield and her daughter moved in during the summer.
Although he was not aware of any domestic disputes at the house since she'd lived there, Amicucci said Whitfield "has been tortured by this guy."
He said that Whitfield had trouble paying the rent at one point because, she told him, her husband "had been raiding her bank account ."
Amicucci said the father was at the home Thursday night to check on the heat and was let in by Williams. He had been called by Amicucci's plumber at the request of Whitfield and was on the phone with the plumber at one point during the evening. Information on what happened between the phone call and the shooting was not immediately available.
Meanwhile, grief counselors were on hand Friday morning at Traphagen Elementary School, where Ayana Evans was a student. She had previously attended Trinity Elementary School in New Rochelle in first grade and William B. Ward school for second and third grade.
"Obviously , the district is saddened by this tragedy," said Desiree Grand, spokeswoman for the Mount Vernon School District. "Our prayers go out to the family of this young girl."
The New Rochelle school district will be prepared to offer counseling to students and staff as needed, said spokeswoman Maggie MacNichol-Skau.
Darell Evans' brother-in-law released a statement this afternoon on behalf of the family, saying they were "shocked by the news of the deaths of Ayana and Ms. Williams and is devastated to learn it was by the hand of Darrell. We cannot imagine any justification for such a horrific act under any circumstances.... We ask that all those who believe in Jesus Christ pray for all of the families who have been touched by this catastrophe.
"As for Darrell, we are asking God to provide us with some understanding as to what would bring him to commit such an act and we pray for his soul.”
Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young, who lives nearby and was at the home Friday morning, said he remembers seeing Ayana Evans riding her bike in the neighborhood and walking to school with her friends.
"I am deeply saddened and shocked," he said. "My entire neighborhood is shocked... Nothing like this ever happened here before. It should not happen in any neighborhood in Mount Vernon."
The homicides are the first of the year in Westchester.
Mount Vernon has led the county in the number of homicides for the past two years.
Staff writers Richard Liebson and Randi Weiner contributed to this report.