Two years ago, a Pace University student was found strangled in a West 15th Street apartment, and police soon arrested drifter Jeromie Cancel, who told police he smothered Kevin Pravia because he was "bored" and then watched the horror movie Saw in his victim's apartment. Yesterday, the police officer testified at a hearing that he didn't believe the 22-year-old when he started bragging about killing. Officer Sean Hynes said, "I just sort of brushed it off. Anyone can read the newspaper."
Cancel's father called the cops after his son stole a Sony Playstation. Hynes, who works at the 104th Precinct in Queens, was processing Cancel when the young man allegedly started bragging. From the Post:
"Oh, I see you have no murders in your precinct," Cancel said, looking at a dry erase board while standing at the sergeant's desk at Ridgewood's 104th precinct, hauled in for allegedly swiping electronics from his father's house nearby.
"I'm like, 'No,'" the cop recalled.
"Then he's like, 'Well I committed one last night."
"I brushed it off," the cop testified. "I didn't believe him . I didn't think anyone'd say something like that. . . I thought he was just making it up."
Cancel began with a few details of the murder. "I said to him, 'I can read the newspaper, too," the jaded, three-year cop quipped back.
Put in a holding cell, Cancel really began unloading.
"Well it didn't say in the paper that I left a cigarette on the windowsill," the cop said the perp blurted.
"And It didn't say in the paper that I left a bottle of Gatorade next to the bed that had alcohol in it. And it didn't say in the paper that the victim had a lip ring."
"At that point," the cop insisted, "I still didn't believe him."
Cancel then described, in grotesque detail, grabbing an electric cord from behind the TV, stuffing the victim's gasping mouth with a plastic bag -- "It might have been, like, a CVS bag" -- and smoking a cigarette with one hand while finishing the garroting with the other, all the while watching the gory horror flick "Saw" on a DVD player.
Even then, "He came across, really, as just being a braggart," the cop insisted.
"The whole time, I just thought he was lying. I was like, 'stop lying.' I told him that many times: 'I'm arresting you for petit larceny and that's it."
While he was skeptical, Hynes told his sergeant, "There are a lot of details here. Maybe we should look into it." And then they found out there was a murder in the 10th Precinct.
Cancel's defense says that Hynes' testimony should be tossed (jury selection starts tomorrow) because his client wasn't given his Miranda rights.