East Village murder/cannibalism of Monika Beerle by her roommate/boyfriend, Daniel Rakowitz, in 1989 (Rakowitz killed Beerle, then chopped her up, cooked the body in a soup, and fed it to Tompkins Square Park homeless). Rakowitz, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity and commited to a psychiatric center, is at hearings to determine whether or not he's still insane. Gothamist has a vague memory of the murder, but it's all clouded with the old perception that Alphabet City was dangerous. The Times describes Mr. Rakowitz as a "self styled marijuana guru...known for roaming the streets with a Bible in his hand and a live rooster on his shoulder, was a pot dealer and part-time cook from Texas. Acquaintances said he started his own religion, in which marijuana was a sacrament." Ack, we knew dudes like this in college, but this never happened to them. The article acknowledges that while some feel the East Village is overgentrified, many don't want it to revert back to the crime-filled corners it once was. A former East Village resident who moved into Rakowitz's building shortly after the murder (and since moved onto the Lower East Side) told the Times, "It was completely emblematic of how scary and weird this place was back then." The Post notes that Rakowitz is still acting out, telling a nurse at the Kirby Center where he lives that, as the prosecuter describes it, "he would like to cut her up because she would make the best rice and beans in town."
There's whole weird serial killer/cannibal world out there that mentions Rakowitz. In other crime news, there's the horrible a Queens teenager hacked to death by a friend's samurai sword; the friend alleges the victim was threatening him with a gun (a BB gun, to be precise). That scared Gothamist enough, but then the Daily News went out and showed how easy it is to buy samurai swords off the street. Why?