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A Pregnant Victim, a Grisly Murder and a Suspect Called ‘Grim Creepa’

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“He’s a monster,” Ms. Cruz said. “She didn’t have to die like that. It’s hard. Every time I think about it, I want to cry. I want to go over there and squeeze him, ‘Tell me, why? Why would you do this to her?’”

A woman who lives on the floor below Ms. Valle’s apartment said she constantly heard Mr. Brown and Ms. Valle fighting and screaming, and she had seen the police visit the apartment last month.

“He seemed strange,” the downstairs neighbor said, who did not want her name used out of fear for her safety. “I saw him punching a wall once.”

Before Sunday, Mr. Brown had been arrested 13 times, according to public records. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder in 2003, after a witness told police she saw him shoot someone in the chest in a Williamsburg park in August 2002, according to state prison records and a criminal complaint. He served about seven years in prison for the shooting, and after his release in 2009, returned to prison three times for parole violations, according to corrections records.

The 23-year-old woman involved in the 2017 choking attack said she had been arguing with Mr. Brown when he had threatened to stab her, according to the police. He choked her and she passed out, she told the police, and when she regained consciousness, she had a cut on her head that required 25 stitches.

The ax that police recovered on Saturday was purchased at the Florama Hardware store a few blocks from where the attack unfolded, according to the store’s manager, Udi Amrussi, who said in a telephone interview that he immediately recognized the store’s price tag affixed to the six-inch blade when investigators showed it to him.

Mr. Amrussi said the store had sold an ax about two weeks ago to a man who came in and asked if the blade could be sharpened. He said he did not know if the man was Mr. Brown and police did not show him a photo of the suspect.



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