NEW YORK CITY — A grand jury will begin hearing evidence as soon as Friday in the fatal stabbing of a beloved soccer coach near Union Square, allowing foreign authorities to begin hunting for the alleged killer, sources said.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office is convening a grand jury to seek an indictment of suspect Orlando Orea, 32, who fled to Mexico after the fatal attack on Michael Jones, 25, a Red Bulls youth soccer coach, law enforcement sources told DNAinfo.com New York.
An indictment is an important next step in the case, because it would allow Mexican authorities to launch a manhunt for Orea, who is believed to be hiding in Puebla, just outside Mexico City, sources said.
Evidence that will be presented to the grand jury includes extensive video surveillance footage allegedly showing Orea attacking Jones, 25, a Red Bulls youth soccer coach, at 14th Street and Fifth Avenue early in the morning of Oct. 7.
Orea is accused of knifing Jones in the head, chest, neck and stomach and slicing off his ear before leaving him bleeding in the street.
Police believe the stabbing was a case of mistaken identity, in which Orea confused Jones, a British native living in West Harrison, N.Y., for someone Orea had been arguing with in a bar earlier in the night. That fight involved a woman, sources said.
Orea then left the bar and encountered Jones on the street making a phone call, sources said. The two exchanged words before Orea allegedly pushed Jones up against a wall and stabbed him, sources said.
Authorities have not found any witnesses who overheard the exchange, but they do have video of it, sources said.
Orea, a Queens resident, flew from JFK Airport to Mexico City two days later, just hours before police uncovered his name in the investigation and put him on a no-fly list. He paid cash for his Aeromexico ticket and bought it moments before boarding, sources said.
After learning Orea had escaped, the NYPD sent three detectives to Mexico to work with local and international law-enforcement officers there on the case.