A Brooklyn man accused of stabbing his 80-year-old grandfather to death with a knife in a Shirley home told a relative he believed the victim was a child-trafficking cannibal who was "Lucifer," according to Suffolk police and a witness statement.
Christopher Clarke, 34, was arrested hours later aboard a Long Island Rail Road train after trying to return to Brooklyn, Suffolk police said.
Clarke was visiting his grandfather, John Pilgrim, shortly before 8 p.m. in a bedroom at a Hounslow Road home where the grandfather had been staying with a relative, Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer, commanding officer of the Suffolk Police Department's Homicide Squad, said during a news conference Tuesday in Yaphank.
A witness statement identified the relative as Kimberly Pace, 53, the victim's niece.
"For some reason the grandson stabbed his grandfather multiple times then came out, made a statement to a relative inside the house — a very disturbing statement — then fled the scene," Beyrer said.
Pace told detectives in a statement that Clarke made an unannounced visit to her home Monday night and at one point came into her room making several bizarre statements.
Clarke, she wrote, wanted Pilgrim "to turn his life over to Jesus. He then said, 'my grandfather is Lucifer.' Christopher went on to say that he's been hearing that his grandfather is in a child trafficking ring" and was a cannibal.
Clarke then returned to his grandfather's room and left the home five minutes later.
Pace said she found Pilgrim in bed several minutes later covered in blood and called 911. Pilgrim was pronounced dead at the home, police said.
Seventh Precinct officers responded to the scene, Beyrer said, and alerted MTA Police that Clarke might attempt to flee to Brooklyn, prompting increased patrols and monitoring at LIRR stations.
Clarke first took a train east to Speonk and then reversed course, heading west toward Brooklyn, authorities said.
He was arrested on board the westbound train at the Mastic-Shirley LIRR station at 9:41 p.m., Beyrer said.
Clarke, who previously lived in Mastic and Shirley, was charged with second-degree murder and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor lacerations to his hands, he said.
As he left the Sixth Precinct Tuesday, a smiling Clarke denied he murdered his grandfather but professed to be Jesus Christ and told reporters he wants "peace and love for the world."
Clarke was arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Tuesday and held without bail.
Clarke's defense attorney, George Duncan, said his client maintains his innocence. "There’s going to be multiple defenses," Duncan said after court. "We’re still in the process of putting those together."
Prosecutors said the victim was stabbed nine times and that Clarke discarded his bloody clothes and provided a false name to police after he was arrested.
At the home Tuesday morning, relatives of the victim described Pilgrim as a quiet, good-hearted man who liked to spend time tending to his garden.
Clarke has multiple previous arrests in New York City and Suffolk County, including one for felony robbery, Beyrer said.
He is due back in court Friday.
With Cecilia Dowd and Joan Gralla.