Carmen Quinones and her boyfriend, Ruben Frederick, were fatally stabbed in Quinones' Harlem Brownstone 15 years ago at the request of Maria DeJesus. The case, which was considered an almost perfect crime, will be the inspiration for the documentary crime series The Perfect Murder on Investigation Discovery.
Wednesday's episode, titled "Horror in Harlem," will take viewers on a chase to find the killers who barged into a New York City apartment and stabbed an elderly couple as the victim's 3-year-old granddaughter watched. In what at first looks like a robbery turns out to be a sinister plot masterminded by a jealous rival.
New York City Police made the grizzly discovery in December 2001. It was then that they were dispatched to 102 East 101st Street, the home of an East Harlem landlord who was found dead along with her lover, Ruben Frederick, aka Ruben Fredrick. The 3-year-old victim, identified as Ashley DeJesus, who was still alive, was transported to the local hospital.
Ashley DeJesus' mother, the daughter of Carmen Quinones, had tried for many hours to contact someone inside the apartment, but all calls went unanswered. Authorities say Amy Dejesus got no answer because 52-year-old Carmen Quinones and Ruben Frederick were already dead. Little Ashley was bound and gagged but at some point broke free to answer her mother's call.
At first glance, it appeared that the murders stemmed from a robbery gone wrong, the New York Post reported.
"Part of the house was ransacked, but police found $15,000 in cash hidden under a mattress in a first-floor bedroom in the East Harlem townhouse."
In fact, several homicides had taken place around New York City at around the same time. However, police later believed that the East Harlem murders were no accident and that the victims were most likely killed by someone they knew.
An autopsy conducted on the Harlem couple showed that they were stabbed more than 20 times. Cell phone records were able to link two Bronx men to the case, 42-year-old Rafael Rios and 27-year-old Raymond Mundo, who were later arrested and charged with murder. After their arrests, the case appeared to be solved, but there was one more twist.
Police learned that Rafael Rios and Raymond Mundo were hitmen who had been hired by Maria DeJesus, the current wife of Carmen Quinones' ex-husband, Justino De Jesus.
According to court records, 57-year-old Maria DeJesus was bitterly jealous of her husband's ex-wife, Carmen, and was incensed that he had to share ownership of the Brownstone that they co-owned, according to the New York Daily News. Police say the new wife wanted the old one completely out of the picture and contacted Rafael "Doggy" Rios to carry out the hit. For killing her, they would be paid $15,000.
Court records detail how the cases ended, according to the District Attorney County of New York.
"In 2003, Mundo was convicted after a jury trial of murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. In 2006, Rios and Duarte testified against DeJesus at trial. DeJesus was convicted by the jury of multiple counts of murder and conspiracy. She was also sentenced to life in prison without parole. In 2005, Perez, who pled guilty to assault, was sentenced to 23 years in prison. In 2006, Rios, who pled guilty to murder, was sentenced to 22 years to life in prison. Duarte, who pled guilty to manslaughter, received 12 years in prison."
To get even more details on the vicious murder, watch ID's The Perfect Murder this Wednesday, June 8, at 9/8 p.m. Central. The Perfect Murder profiled another riveting case last week about the murder of Henry Diaz, a Miami grocer who was found dead in the Florida Everglades.
You can see a photo of the East Harlem Brownstone owned by Carmen Quinones and her ex-husband, Justino DeJesus, here.