The Jamaica, Queens man arrested in the stabbing death of a Muslim woman earlier this week was charged in Queens Criminal Court Sunday afternoon with two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, officials said.
Yonatan Galvez-Marin, 22, approached Nazma Khanam at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday on Normal Road near 160th Street and demanded money, according to the Queens County District Attorney’s office. When Khanam, a 60-year-old Bangladeshi woman from Jamaica Hills, refused, Galvez-Marin stabbed her in the torso and fled, officials said.
Khanam was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, officials said.
“Sadly, the Bangladeshi community once again finds itself having to deal with the senseless murder of one of its own,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “The individual who attempted to rob and attack this defenseless wife and mother as she walked down the street has now been apprehended and will be vigorously prosecuted for this unprovoked and heinous attack.”
Galvez-Marin was arrested just blocks away from the incident and residence of Khanam, who was the aunt of an NYPD transit cop.
In the wake of the stabbing, the Queens Muslim community called for Khanam’s death to be investigated as a hate crime. The Council on American-Islamic Relations noted Khanam was wearing Islamic attire at the time of the stabbing.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR-NY said Sunday he was “pleased” and relieved an arrest had been made swiftly.
“We welcome the fact that a person has been arrested so quickly and are waiting to see what develops through the court process,” said Hooper. “We’re being told this was a robbery and that will need to be determined based on the facts presented at the trial.”
Galves-Marin faces 25 years to life in prison on charges that include two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.