A 23-year-old man who last week was charged with second-degree murder after a Greenport woman was found strangled in her home faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the felony charge.
Jaime DeLeon-Tino, who was before Suffolk County Justice Richard Ambro Thursday morning in Riverhead, is being held on $1 million cash bail or $2 million bond. He is charged with the murder of 27-year-old Michelle Schiavoni and has pleaded not guilty. Mr. DeLeon-Tino is the United States illegally and is currently in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to assistant district attorney Elizabeth Creighton. A district attorney spokesman said Mr. DeLeon-Tino was from El Salvador. Ms. Creighton said there’s no evidence he has any gang affiliation.
Mr. DeLeon-Tino said in a statement that he placed his hands around Ms. Schiavoni’s neck until she was dead on the night of July 9, Ms. Creighton said. He also said he was going to leave the state and possibly the country, and was carrying a “large sum” of money, according to Ms. Creighton.
Outside the courtroom, Ms. Creighton said while some type of argument occurred, Mr. DeLeon-Tino did not fully explain why. The two were not dating but were “known to each other as friends,” Ms. Creighton said.
Ms. Schiavoni’s family declined comment outside the courtroom.
The case adjourned to conference set for Aug. 17.
Southold Town police made 17 visits over five years to the Greenport Village address where Ms. Schiavoni was murdered last week in the town’s first homicide in over 20 years, Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said in an interview this week.
During the previous five years, calls to town police to investigate at the address came from neighbors and were varied in nature. One caller, for example, reported possible criminal mischief when someone threw a rock at a window. Others called to report disturbances or complain about someone on the property who should not have been there. Charges were not filed in those cases.
Last August, at the same house, a man attacked Ms. Schiavoni and another man with a machete. That was the only call that resulted in an arrest at the address. Esvin Rolando Escobar of Greenport was arrested and charged with felony assault.
The day after last week’s murder, neighbors expressed sadness that the young woman had been killed, and said they kept their distance from the house because they saw a lot of people coming and going. Officers who covered that sector were aware of the house, Chief Flatley said.
He described Greenport as a safe community and said the last murder in Southold Town was “well over 20 years ago” at Driftwood Cove in Greenport. That case is still open. In 2009 a Greenport teenager, Eber Lopez, was found dead of a gunshot wound in Farmingville after he was last seen at a party in Southold. There was a homicide on Shelter Island in 1998. Kenneth Payne was charged with murder after firing a shotgun at his neighbor, Curtis Cook, believing he had molested an 8-year-old girl, according to news reports at the time.
Because an arrest was made quickly in the Second Street death, Chief Flatley said, “It didn’t leave the community thinking where is somebody going to strike next.”
Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said he received a few calls from people concerned about whether someone dangerous was still in the area, but was assured by police there was no threat.
“Generally, overall, Greenport’s a very safe place,” Mr. Hubbard said, calling the homicide an isolated incident. “It’s very rare that we have something like that happen here. It’s very unfortunate for that young girl.”
After the murder, Southold police called in the Suffolk County Police Department’s homicide squad, which is standard department procedure any time there is a suspicious death, life-threatening violent act or a need to determine whether a serious felony was committed, according to the chief.
He said the toughest challenges for the local department come down to manpower, especially in the summer, when there are more people and cars around town and officers are spread between managing traffic and seasonal events.
“It gets busy,” he said. “But luckily, we live in an area where we’re not dealing with the violence as much as other places. We don’t have armed robberies on the street. We may get on the rare occurrence one of those, but very seldom is it somebody who doesn’t know the person that they’re attacking or there’s some other reason for it. It’s a safe community and we work hard to try and keep it that way.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date of the incident. It occurred on July 9.