New York: Police arrest suspect after gay man found dead in motel

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An arrest has been made in connection with the death of a gay man at a New York motel.

Garcia Lleuyel faces second-degree murder charges. The 23-year-old also faces robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and tampering with physical evidence charges.

New York CBS 2 reports the arrest is said to be in connection with the death of 54-year-old Joseph Benzinger, of Queens, who was found dead inside the Crown Motor Inn in Elmhurst last Saturday.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

“I commend the swift action taken by the NYPD to make an arrest in the murder of Joseph Benzinger,” said City Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Despite the arrest, it is vitally important that we continue to remain vigilant.

“The other murders committed against gay men remain unsolved but I am hopeful that the NYPD will capture the perpetrators. Again, I want to urge everyone that it is always important to practice safety whether meeting people online or in person.”

Police also are investigating the deaths of two other gay men in recent weeks, but earlier said the three incidents
were not related.

On 26 January, David Rangel, was found dead at his Jackson Heights apartment.

Two days later, Charles Romo was found tied up in his Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan.