Text messages, witness accounts challenge alibis given to police after stabbing, document shows
New London — Although they attempted to provide alibis to police and deny involvement in the murder of Matthew Chew on Oct. 29, the six teens accused in the attack each told a network of friends and girlfriends what happened, according to an arrest warrant affidavit unsealed Monday.
According to the warrant, the teens gave police a variety of stories regarding the night that Chew, a downtown resident, was attacked and then fatally stabbed.
Chew was assaulted near 5 Huntington St. a little before 11:48 p.m., the time at which a 911 call was made, according to the warrant. He was stabbed six times and also sustained two cuts to the face, the warrant says; he tried to run back up the road and was found lying in the street at the corner of Huntington and Jay streets.
Two city teenagers, Idris Elahi and Marquis Singleton, are charged with murder. Rahshad Perry, Tyree Bundy, Brian Rabell and Mattias Perry, all of New London, are charged with being accessories to murder.
Most of the teens told friends that Elahi and Singleton stabbed Chew, according to the 10-page warrant.
The warrant also describes Chew himself as being heard during an emergency call to police, relaying that he had been jumped and stabbed.
The warrant says a caller phoned police to report a man lying in the street at the intersection of Jay and Huntington streets.
"The victim was able to relate over the open 911-taped phone line that he was jumped and stabbed," the warrant reads. It is not clear whether Chew made the call or is heard in the background.
The warrant said police interviewed nine witnesses, including a best friend, girlfriends and two people who live at a group home on Huntington Street. None of the witnesses is identified by name in the warrant.
Elahi's best friend told police that Elahi said "something about doing it because they were bored and that they didn't know the victim," according to the warrant. The group either took a lighter from Chew or used it as an excuse to stop him, she said.
The girl said Elahi told her that Singleton cut Chew, somebody hit him, and that Elahi also cut him, although the girl wasn't sure in what order. She thought Elahi told her that he had cut the victim first and then gave the knife to Singleton, who had the knife last. Elahi told her that he had cut the victim on his face and Singleton had cut him on the shoulder.
The girl told police she thought Elahi had said the victim was fighting back.
Bundy told a friend around midnight the night of the murder that "there was no reason as to why they jumped the guy, they just saw him and decided to mess with him," according to the warrant.
In Bundy's version, Elahi takes the lead while others step back.
"He told her Idris was very aggressive and everyone backed off while he (Idris) continued to assault the male," the warrant reads.
Bundy told the friend that Elahi handed him a knife, at which point Bundy realized Elahi had stabbed Chew. Bundy said he gave the knife back to Elahi and started to run.
Bundy told police he was "in the middle of the street picking his nose" when the altercation started. He said he turned, saw the confrontation and ran away with his cousin, Rahshad Perry, according to the warrant. They met up with Matias Perry on Truman Street, shook hands and left the area, he said.
Bundy told police that he and Rahshad Perry "were present but not physically involved in it" and would not describe what the four others were each doing, saying all he saw were "a bunch of hoodies," or hooded sweatshirts.
Matias Perry's girlfriend told police that he, too, ran from the scene. Matias Perry told his girlfriend that Elahi and Singleton stabbed Chew, and that Elahi had a pocketknife and Singleton had a box cutter.
Rabell told police that he ran as well.
Rabell told police that the group had been hanging around at Elahi's house before leaving to walk around downtown. Rabell told police he was walking ahead of the group on Huntington Street when they slowed down; he turned around and saw a man wearing a beige baseball cap walking by himself behind the group.
Rabell said he heard a commotion and what sounded like a punch and that he heard the man screaming something similar to "What happened?" or "Why?" When he turned back, Rabell said, he saw that his friends had surrounded the man before Rabell heard the screams. Rabell said he ran off and didn't stop until he reached the Federal Street projects.
Rabell's girlfriend at first tried to lie to police, then broke down and said she had been trying to protect him, according to the warrant. She told police that Rabell told her to say they had been together on the night of the attack.
During a third interview with police, the girl said Rabell went to her house on Nov. 1 and seemed upset. He told her that Elahi had stabbed someone and that Rabell needed an alibi. Rabell and the others were concerned that Rahshad Perry's parents were going to tell police, according to the warrant.
Of the six, Singleton and Elahi's statements to police veer the most from the storyline. While the other four eventually acknowledged being in the area or seeing what happened, both Singleton and Elahi denied even being in the vicinity.
Singleton told police he was walking around downtown after arranging to drop an iPod off at a friend's house. He told police he saw Bundy near Bank Street but that the two didn't speak because Bundy was on his cell phone. They parted ways as they approached Bank and Tilley streets, he told police.
Singleton also said he saw a large group of males hanging out in front of 35 Union St. (the Crocker House) and that some were wearing masks. The affidavit doesn't mention whether Singleton thought the masks were related to Halloween costumes.
Singleton said he turned onto Brewer Street and started to run because he was cold, running until he got back home around 11:15 p.m. or 11:30 p.m.
Elahi told police he was home watching television by himself all night, according to the warrant, and said his mother could verify that. Elahi's mother told police she could not say that Elahi was home all night. Elahi was staying on the third floor, which has a separate exterior door, according to the warrant.
Police seized Bundy's cell phone during a search and seizure warrant executed on Nov. 9. On it they found text messages to and from a couple of friends and a conversation in which Bundy says Elahi "wants to tell" and that the others "might have too (sic) give him up."
Police also obtained video from a security camera at the Bank of America on 250 State St. The back entrance of the bank is on Washington Street adjacent to the SNET parking lot. The video shows six black males walking directly under the camera at about 11:18 p.m.
Police identified Elahi and Singleton in the video and the warrant says that the others "are believed to be Tyree Bundy, Rahshad Perry, Matias Perry, and Brian Rabell."