Reeaz Khan, 21, a Guyanese national who is in the country illegally, is accused of violently attacking and raping a woman named Maria Fuertes as she was walking home near Liberty Avenue and 127th Street around midnight on Jan. 6.
Fuertes lay half-dressed in 32-degree weather for two hours before she was found, conscious but “incoherent,” at around 2 a.m., according to a criminal complaint. She was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Investigators gathered surveillance footage to identity Khan as a possible suspect in the brutal attack. He was arrested Thursday night and confessed to the murder, The New York Post reported.
He appeared in court Friday where a prosecutor said Khan had told detectives that, “He fell down, his belt broke, his pants fell down and his penis fell near [the victim’s] vagina.”
According to an ICE press release, Khan was previously arrested in November on assault and weapons charges. ICE had issued a detainer for him then, but Khan was released from custody because of New York City’s sanctuary policies.
Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ICE’s Removal Operations, said Khan’s case shows that New York City’s sanctuary policies are “dangerously flawed.”
“It was a deadly choice to release a man on an active ICE detainer back onto the streets after his first arrest included assault and weapon charges, and he now faces new charges, including murder,” Decker said. “New York City’s sanctuary policies continue to threaten the safety of all residents of the five boroughs they repeatedly protect criminal aliens who show little regard for the laws of this nation.”
Khan is facing charges of murder, sexual abuse, contact by forcible compulsion, and sexual abuse against a person incapable of consent. He faces 25 years to life behind bars if convicted.
He is being held at Rikers Island without bail. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 15.