Man accused of killing LI nurse was released by Nassau judge 3 weeks ago

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BROOKLYN -

Police say a man who was accused of choking his ex-girlfriend and released without bail by a Nassau judge went on to kill a Long Island nurse, rape a woman in Brooklyn and flee the state.

Court documents say 27-year old Danueal Drayton allegedly tried to strangle his ex-girlfriend in a car while the two were in Inwood Park in June. Three days later, he also allegedly then slashed the tires on her car and sent her a threatening message on Facebook saying, "This is just the beginning. First your tires, then I cut your break [sic] line, then I set your car on fire or blow it up."

Drayton was arrested and initially held on several thousand dollars bail, but at a second hearing on July 5 he was released on his own recognizance. Twelve days later, 29-year old Samantha Stewart was found murdered in her Queens home.

MORE: Arrest made in connection to strangling of Long Island nurse

Police say the two met on a dating website and that was the extent of their relationship. Drayton also allegedly raped a woman in Brooklyn before fleeing to California. He was arrested after police caught him in a hotel with another potential victim.

“This individual is known by us and it's believed by us that this individual uses dating websites to meet women and then victimize these women,” says NYPD Chief Dermot Shea.

“Luckily they were able to catch up with him before another parents lost a loved one,” says Kenneth Stewart, Samantha’s father. “It's hard, it's hard. I'm trying to make sense of what happened, my daughter shouldn't have died the way she did.”

As for why Drayton was released without having to post bail following the alleged Inwood attack? The Nassau DA's Office say the prosecutor had asked for $7,500 bail. A spokesman for the courts explained in a statement that as of July 5, Drayton had no prior criminal record and the purpose of bail is to ensure the suspect would return to court.

The statement said, “A judge has broad discretion when determining whether to set bail. Many factors are to be considered, including the views of other agencies involved within the process. In NYS the purpose of bail is to ensure a defendant's return to court; Mr. Drayton did not have a prior criminal record and had not been indicted. In this particular case the judge carefully considered the facts before her and made her determination based on all the current, relevant and factual information that was provided to the court at that time. It would have been impossible for the judge at that time to foresee the allegations that are presently unfolding and coming to light with regard to this defendant.”

Kenneth Stewart says his life is shattered.

“How could something like that happen?” he asks. “There is a failure of the system. Again this is why my daughter is dead today."

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