Gun violence

Suspect in Deadly Poughkeepsie Hotel Shooting Charged In Connection to Another Murder

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One of the suspects charged in the deadly Marriott hotel shooting of a Long Island father visiting Poughkeepsie for a college family weekend has also been charged in connection with another murder.

Devin Taylor is accused of shooting and killing Darren Villani on Aug. 9 in Poughkeepsie, the Dutchess County District Attorney's office announced Wednesday. He was charged with second-degree murder and weapon possession, and is next scheduled to appear in court for that killing on Feb. 22.

If convicted, Taylor could face life in prison for his role in Villani's slaying — which occurred nearly two months prior to the high-profile hotel shooting near Marist College that left 53-year-old father Paul Kutz, of East Northport, dead.

Taylor and another man — Roy Johnson Jr. — were both charged in that incident. Johnson Jr., the alleged gunman and a known fugitive at the time, pleaded not guilty to firing 30 shots in and around the Courtyard by Marriott.

Questions remain about why the suspected triggerman was even on the streets to begin with in the weeks leading up to the death. Johnson had been wanted by law enforcement in Georgia since July 2022 on gun and drug charges, and had been eyed by law enforcement in connection to Villani's alleged gang-related killing — but Poughkeepsie city police did not arrest him on the active gun warrant at the time.

Johnson Jr. has not been charged in Villani's slaying. Taylor, who was arrested at the scene with Johnson Jr. and had been staying in a hotel room with him, faces weapons charges for the Marriott shooting. Police said they found an AR-15-style weapon, bomb manuals and other materials inside the hotel room that an associate had rented for the pair.

Police for the city of Poughkeepsie said Wednesday that while they were aware the alleged gunman who killed a father in a seemingly random hotel lobby shooting had been a fugitive of the law, they couldn’t arrest him for one simple reason: They couldn’t find him.

Numerous law enforcement officials say it was a mistake to leave Johnson Jr. on the street after the summer shooting, and that police had the opportunity to bring him into custody in the weeks before he allegedly shot up the hotel and killed Kutz.

And while police for the city of Poughkeepsie and the district attorney's office have said they were aware Johnson Jr. had been a fugitive of the law, they said they couldn't arrest him for one simple reason: They couldn't find him.

The district attorney's office and police for the city of Poughkeepsie have not said when they first checked databases to learn that Johnson Jr. was wanted elsewhere. But several law enforcement sources told NBC New York that Johnson Jr. was believed to be in Poughkeepsie right after Villani's Aug. 9 shooting, and some officials wanted to pick him up.

As we get our first look at the father killed in a hotel shooting over the weekend, the I-Team is uncovering new information about two men charged in his death — including the alleged gunman who investigators said was also a wanted fugitive. Jonathan Dienst reports.

Several law enforcement sources told News 4 that while police wanted to make an arrest, the district attorney and others wanted to wait. The Dutchess County district attorney's office has said that the office "never made a request to delay an arrest" of Johnson Jr., saying that there was never evidence to warrant an arrest be made in the homicide.

The city's police department, which said they were also looking for him in the August homicide, said they were unable to find him because he did not have a permanent address. At the time, sources had told the city's police department that Johnson Jr. had been hiding from police by staying at hotels in New York and other states.

But despite believing that he had been traveling out of state, multiple law enforcement officials said that police never asked U.S. Marshals, state police or a joint anti-crime task force led by the FBI for help in tracking him down.

The U.S. Marshals, FBI, New York State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Southern District of New York have declined requests for comment on the matter.

The two men taken into custody for the shooting at a hotel in Poughkeepsie are also being investigated as suspects for a previous robbery and murder, Jessica Cunnington reports.

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