Wife of man killed in fatal Huntington Station stabbing 'bear hugged' alleged killer to try to stop attack, DA says
A Huntington Station woman “bear hugged” her husband’s attacker after the man allegedly “sliced his neck,” killing him in broad daylight outside of a schoolhouse Thursday, according to a criminal complaint in the case.
Candelario Cordova, 53, of Huntington Station, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder Friday at his arraignment before District Court Judge Rosann Orlando in Central Islip. Orlando ordered Cordova be remanded to the Suffolk County Jail.
Prosecutors said Cordova caused the death of Roque Cisneros, 58, by stabbing him multiple times in the body and neck with a “long fillet style knife” shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. In a statement, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said the two men were “friends” and investigators do not yet know the motive for the attack.
“This defendant allegedly murdered his friend and was savagely attacking his friend’s wife when she tried to save her husband’s life,” Tierney said.
Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Frank Schroeder told the court Cisneros’ wife, Vilma Campos Esperanza, 54, watched the attack unfold from a front window of the couple’s house.
Cisneros was allegedly seated in the passenger seat of Cordova’s 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee as the two men argued. As Campos came to her husband’s aid, Cordova “sped away,” Schroeder said.
Campos then followed the vehicle and later saw Cordova retrieve the knife from his trunk and approach Cisneros on the passenger side. She told police “I saw … [Cordova] stab [my husband] in his stomach repeatedly and then sliced his neck,” according to the charging document.
Schroeder told the court Campos was then injured by the knife after she “bear hugged” Cordova in an effort to stop the attack, which ended on Oakwood Road, more than two miles from the couple’s home.
“[Cisneros’] wife stood there in horror as she tried to stop the attack,” Schroeder told the court.
Passing motorists stopped to help Campos subdue Cordova, who police said waited at the scene for them to arrive. Cisneros was pronounced dead at the scene, located across the street from Stimson Middle School.
In denying bail, Orlando called Cordova a flight risk and said there “could have been two” deceased victims in the attack.
“It took individuals stopping by to stop it,” the judge remarked.
Cordova’s court-appointed defense attorney, Jonathan Manley of Hauppauge, reserved his right to make a bail application at a later date, telling the judge his client suffered a medical episode while in custody Friday morning and they had not yet been able to discuss the case.
“I think it would be irresponsible of me to comment on the merits of the case at this point,” Manley told reporters outside the courtroom. “We look forward to reviewing the evidence and mounting a vigorous defense.”
Schroeder said Cordova faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.