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Hinds charged with murder in New London stabbing case

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A 46-year-old New London man who has been in custody since the Oct. 24 stabbing death of Raheeim General on a Blackhall Street fire escape was charged Tuesday with General's murder.

City police officers who had worked on the case and members of the victim's family were in New London Superior Court as Metese Hinds was led before Judge Hillary B. Strackbein for arraignment. The judge appointed attorney M. Fred DeCaprio from the public defender's office to represent Hinds, read him his rights and set his bond at $1 million. He is due back in court on Dec. 15.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit written by Detective Keith Crandall, Hinds, who has a lengthy criminal record that includes time served in New Jersey for an assault, was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and opiates when, police say, he used a wood-handled kitchen knife with an 8½-inch blade to inflict a "wide gaping wound" to General's neck and stab him in the forehead, face, left hand and torso.

Several people witnessed the stabbing, and police said Hinds retreated in an apartment, then returned to continue the attack on General as he lay unconscious on a fire escape at an apartment building at 49-51 Blackhall St.

Officer Michael Lewis, responding to the apartment after police received multiple reports of a stabbing, was attempting to help General when Hinds came out of a second-floor apartment, began kicking General's body and shouted, "Get him the (expletive) out of here!" according to the affidavit. Lewis subdued Hinds.

General, 33, a father of five children, was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital following the 7:20 p.m. incident, but could not be revived. He died from sharp force injuries of the head, neck, torso and extremities, according to the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. His death was ruled a homicide.

According to the affidavit, Hinds occasionally slept at the apartment of a man who lives on the second-floor of the three-story apartment building.

Hinds had been drinking shots of liquor and listening to music with a group of five or six people, including General, at a woman's apartment on the third floor when the men started arguing, according to the affidavit. The unidentified woman said she kicked the men out and they left via the fire escape. She said a few minutes later, somebody knocked on her door and said General had been stabbed.

As the men were leaving the apartment, another female witness said she heard Hinds saying he never liked General. Hinds previously had told one of the witnesses that he had known General since General "was in Pampers."

The second-floor resident that Hinds was staying with told police he was sleeping when Hinds, who was "not himself," knocked on his apartment door while screaming, "They were molesting kids! I'm going to kill them all!" The man said he let Hinds in and they heard another man from the group coming up the fire escape stairs. Hinds opened the door and argued with the man before punching him, the witness said.  The man left and Hinds went into the kitchen and retrieved a knife.

The witness said General then came up the fire escape and punched Hinds before the two men started to "go at it." He said he heard General say to Hinds, "Yo! My man! What are you doing?" and saw Hinds stab General multiple times as General attempted to defend himself.

Hinds suffered a stab wound to the leg and was treated at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital before police took him into custody and charged him with an outstanding warrant for violation of a protective order.

Questioned by police the next day, Hinds changed his story several times. He told police that he had gotten into an argument with a black man he did not know by name because the man was sexually touching a baby at the apartment. Shown a photo of General, Hinds said that was the person he had fought with and called him "the Devil," according to the affidavit.

Two small children were in a bedroom in the apartment where Hinds, General and the others had been drinking, according to one of the witnesses.

New London State's Attorney Michael L. Regan will be prosecuting Hinds, whose next legal move will be to notify the court whether he wants a probable cause hearing. If Hinds opts for the hearing, the prosecutor will call witnesses and present information in an effort to convince the judge there is enough evidence to move forward with the murder charge.

Bail Commissioner Chris Manavas said in court that Hinds, a lifelong resident of the area, told him he was living at the Blackhall Street apartment at the time of the incident. He said Hinds reported he has 15 children, the youngest of whom is 3 years old.

Hinds is being held at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville.

k.florin@theday.com

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