2008-02-22 / Front Page

St. John's Assault Prelude To Manhattan Murder

Rockaway Doc Told Court, Tarloff 'Not Dangerous'
By Howard Schwach

The 39-year-old man who is charged with the brutal, knife-slashing murder of a female therapist and the wounding of a psychiatrist was caught largely because of the fingerprints taken from him after he assaulted a security guard at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway just two weeks prior to the murder, police say.

Two weeks before he killed a therapist in Manhattan, Tarloff was arrested at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway for attacking a security guard. Two weeks before he killed a therapist in Manhattan, Tarloff was arrested at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway for attacking a security guard. The man, identified by police as David Tarloff, was picked up at his Queens home on February 16 after allegedly killing Kathryn Faughey, 56, and wounding Dr. Kent Shinbach, a man in his mid-70's.

Detectives from the Manhattan Homicide Squad found Dr. Faughey's office awash in blood and discovered two suitcases left behind by the assailant in the building's basement.

On the extension handle of one of those suitcases, police sources say, was a palm print from Tarloff's left hand, which matched prints taken by police in Far Rockaway after Tarloff was arrested on February 1 at St. John's Episcopal Hospital, where his mother, Beatrice, 78, was being treated. She has resided in the nursing home, affiliated with the hospital, for the past six months, sources say.

Sources say that Tarloff tried to visit his mother at the hospital. The suitcases he left behind at the murder scene reportedly contained adult diapers and clothing for his mother, who Tarloff planned to spirit out of the hospital, perhaps to Hawaii.

Court documents supplied to The Wave by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown show that Tarloff went to the thirdfloor critical care unit at the hospital shortly after noon on February 1 to visit his mother, who allegedly had an order of protection against him.

Workers at the nursing home told a Daily News reporter that his mother wanted nothing to do with him.

"He would call repeatedly just to curse at her," the source told The News. "We don't take his calls anymore."

Another worker told The New York Times, "He calls here harassing his mother. He gets her upset. She's very sick, and when he doesn't get to speak with her, he becomes very threatening."

Because of two earlier incidents, officials say, Tarloff was restricted from seeing his mother, except under very strict rules, rules that he violated on February 1, lead- ing to a violent confrontation with security guard Joel Leroy.

Court records say that Leroy observed Tarloff "touching [his mother] in violation of hospital regulations and pre-arranged visitation rules."

When Leroy challenged Tarloff, the latter allegedly cursed both the guard and the nursing staff and threatened the nurses on duty.

When Leroy tried to restrain Tarloff, the guard said in his deposition, Tarloff punched him and knocked him down. The two scuffled on the floor until Leroy could restrain him, the court records say.

Leroy suffered a strained back and swelling around his head. He was treated at the hospital and released.

Sources report that Tarloff was held overnight for psychiatric evaluation, but was released the next morning because the law does not allow involuntary confinement for more than 24 hours unless a determination is made that the person is a danger to himself or others.

Published sources say that Dr. Reddy Bezwada, a psychiatrist at St. John's Episcopal Hospital told the court, in a written evaluation, that Tarloff "did not require further psychiatric treatment," and he was released.

Tarloff was charged with assault, harassment and disorderly conduct and was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court the following day.

Court records show that he was released on his own recognizance by Judge Barry Kron, based largely on Dr. Bezwada's evaluation that Tarloff was not a danger to himself or to others.

Less than two weeks later, however, Tarloff killed Faughey.

Court transcripts show that Assistant District Attorney Carly Kaufman told Kron that the people were not asking for bail in the case.

Kron ordered, "The defendant is ROR [released on own recognizance] on consent. There is a problem where the defendant tried to visit his mother at the hospital and got into a hassle of some sort with the nurses. [He] felt that she wasn't being fed or nourished and he got very … that's not something that requires an order of protection."

The judge also warned Tarloff, "You need to use restraint and common sense if there is some sort of problem. You never want to come back here again."

Tarloff told the judge, "Thank you very much. God Bless you."

His next court date was set for February 25, but a spokesperson for Brown told The Wave on Tuesday that it was unlikely that Tarloff would show for that court date.

"The murder charge takes precedence over the assault charge we have against him," the spokesperson said.

Charges filed against Tarloff in Manhattan include second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and assault.

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