Coptic family killed in robbery: police
BY AUSTIN FENNER
and OWEN MORITZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
An upstairs neighbor and his alleged accomplice were charged yesterday with the brutal murders of Hossam Armanious, 47, and his wife and two daughters.
McDonald, 25, and Hamilton Sanchez, 30, were each held on $10 million bail on four counts of murder yesterday. Weeping as he was led away, the muscular Sanchez cried out: "I didn't do it. I didn't kill nobody."
Coptic Christians in
But Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said, "the motive for these murders was robbery. This was a crime based on greed, the desperate need of money."
Authorities said Armanious, his wife, Amal Garas, 37, and their daughters, Sylvia, 15, and Monica, 8, were killed three days before their bodies were found Jan. 14.
Cops went to the family's home after relatives had not heard from them for days.
DeFazio said McDonald
and Sanchez entered the
After Armanious arrived, Monica managed to loosen her bonds and recognized McDonald, DeFazio said. McDonald then killed the girl and Sanchez murdered her father, mother and sister, authorities said.
Even after the grisly murders, McDonald and his family continued to live upstairs.
It took authorities almost two months to obtain the slain family's bank records. When they did, they found McDonald had withdrawn thousands of dollars from Armanious' account using an ATM card.
Garas' brother, Eyan Garas, said he met McDonald
at the prosecutor's office during the homicide probe. "When I saw him for
the first time, he was with his kids and his wife," he said. "He was
like an angel."
Originally published on March 5, 2005