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Trial witness: Victim was nervous the night she was killed

Investigators comb a Central Islip house where three

Investigators comb a Central Islip house where three bodies were found by crew responding to a fire. (Aug. 11, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

Hours before she was killed in her home, a Central Islip woman was so nervous about her boyfriend that she didn't want to sleep in her own bed, the woman's friend testified Thursday in Suffolk County Court.

On the evening of Aug. 10, 2009, Katrice Daniels, 31, said she was worried because her sister Mykier, 28, had stolen her boyfriend's laptop, jewelry and credit cards a couple of days before, said Daniels' friend, Katrina Gilley. Gilley came to visit Daniels to braid her hair.

Other witnesses have identified Katrice Daniels' boyfriend as Hasan Vaughan, and have said it was his belongings that were stolen. Gilley testified at the trial of Vaughan and Thomas Singletary, both 36 and of Central Islip. They are charged with first-degree murder and arson.

"She was nervous," Gilley said. "She looked like she was really stressed out about it. . . . She didn't want to stay there. She asked if she could stay with me that night. I told her no."

As soon as she completed her answer, Gilley burst into tears and Judge James Hudson let her regain her composure outside the courtroom.

Later that night, the Daniels sisters and Mykier's friend, Louis Calixto Jr., 19, were tortured and killed in that house before it was set on fire.

In the hallway, Calixto's mother embraced Gilley as she sobbed. "I could have saved her life," she said as she cried. Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla came out to calm her down.

When she returned to the witness stand, Gilley said she left Katrice Daniels' home before midnight and took a train home to Wyandanch. In the morning, she saw that Katrice Daniels sent her a text at 2:09 a.m. It said, "Yo my sista is here and . . . is not going well."

Neighbors testified earlier about hearing screams and gunshots shortly after that time.

Biancavilla has said that Vaughan recruited Singletary to get revenge on the people who stole his belongings.

In an odd recurring theme in the trial, Gilley said that Katrice Daniels said her boyfriend had been shot dead a block from her house two weeks before the crime. She told Gilley her current boyfriend was that man's twin brother. Vaughan was not shot then, nor was anyone else in the area. Vaughan does not have a twin brother.

During questioning by Vaughan's attorney, William Keahon of Hauppauge, Gilley said Daniels' boyfriend showed up briefly that night while Gilley was there.

"I wanted to leave then," she said. "I had a bad vibe."

But the boyfriend said he would leave instead, and Gilley told Keahon the man was never disrespectful or aggressive.

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