A Bronx man allegedly beat an attacker to death with what appeared to be a tire iron after the attacker tried to rape the man's wife, law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York.
The woman's 61-year-old husband was arrested on manslaughter charges Tuesday, hours after police say he fatally beat the would-be rapist in the elevator of the couple's Washington Avenue apartment building. He was released Tuesday night after pleading not guilty and the charges were downgraded to two counts of assault, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, according to court documents.
The alleged rapist, 43-year-old Earl Nash, forced his way into the building shortly after 10 p.m., authorities said.
Nash allegedly knocked at the victim's door, pushed his way in when she answered and exposed himself and tried to tear off the woman's clothes, according to sources. Amid the struggle, the woman called for her husband and one of the woman's cousins tried to fight off Nash.
Sources said that Nash left the apartment and got into the elevator as the woman's husband was coming to her aid. The woman pointed out Nash to her husband, and sources said the husband swung what appeared to be a tire iron at Nash.
The pair then scuffled, sources said. Nash allegedly whipped the woman's husband with a belt, and the husband in turn bashed Nash in the head and body with the tire iron.
One of the blows appeared to fracture the left side of Nash's skull, and the man was pronounced dead on arrival to Lincoln Hospital.
The couple's son said he saw his mother and aunt being attacked.
"He started beating on my mother and my aunt, and they started fighting back," said the son, Abdul Diallo. "He tried to rip their clothes off and he tried to sexually harass them."
He added, "I ran upstairs and saw the guy was in the elevator and he was bleeding, and my mother was sweating, her clothes were off. I didn't know what to think."
The husband's family defended him Tuesday morning, claiming he was trying to protect his wife.
"I think he tried to do the best to defend his wife," said Mamadou Diallo, the brother of the husband, also named Mamadou Diallo. "Right now, it's very sad. I never know him to harm anything."
"I don't expect anything less," said son Abdul Diallo. "I would do the same thing."
Diallo was led out of a police station in handcuffs late Tuesday afternoon and made his first appearance in court later in the evening. He pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges.
He was released on his own recognizance, and prosecutors didn't put up much of an argument. Some strangers outside the court cheered when he walked out, saying they'd heard about the case and that he should not have been arrested.
The district attorney's office said Wednesday the manslaughter charges were dropped because the medical examiner has not yet determined a cause of death for Nash.
Sources said that Nash had 19 prior arrests, and had served at least four years in a state prison.
Neighbors in his Bronx apartment building were stunned.
"That's sad. That's really sad," said Ry-An Rivera, who said Nash was quiet but also exhibited strange behavior sometimes, including exposing himself.