By Murray Weiss
MANHATTAN — Police are searching for an ex-con from Inwood wanted for a vicious attack on a New Jersey lawyer found bound and stabbed with his ear nearly sliced off in the trunk of his BMW in Upper Manhattan, DNAinfo has learned.
Barion Blake, 30, apparently carried out the bizarre attack in an attempt to rip off his victim, Akeem Ajimotokan, 33, a family man from West New York, N.J., police said. Blake reportedly had a history of stealing BMWs. He was on parole for a felony conviction and court records show that he was arrested twice in November — the first time for criminal possession of marijuana, the second time for criminal trespassing at an apartment in Inwood.
Ajimotokan, who works as a contract officer at Columbia University, was viciously assaulted in the doorway of his home Wednesday after he placed an advertisement on the web offering to sell his 2008 BMW. The ad caught the attention the attention of Blake, who lives in the Dyckman Houses projects at Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue, police said.
Blake remained on the run Friday and is described as 6-foot 8-inches tall and weighs 230 pounds, police said. He has tattoos on his neck in Chinese writing and one on his hand that reads "TASHA," police said. His victim was clinging to life at Harlem Hospital, police said.
The ex-con traveled to West New York early Wednesday morning carrying a stolen license plate from a Toyota Camry in Queens, sources say.
When the victim — wearing no socks or shoes — opened the door, Blake apparently went inside and they drafted a bill of sale.
But before money changed hands, the ex-con pounced — forcing Ajimotokan outside where he stabbed him, slammed him in the head with knife, nearly severing his ear and then dumping him into the trunk of his car, authorities believe.
Blake then reportedly stopped in Naussau County several hours later where he was approached by police who thought he may have been swapping license plates.
"As he approached, Blake jumps in the car and they take off," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the New York Post. "They go westbound on Jericho Turnpike [and] he goes south on the Cross Island Parkway. He’s pursued by the Nassau County police. In the snow, on the roadway, the police car overturns and he escaped."
The attacker then drove the BMW and his prey over the George Washington Bridge into Upper Manhattan.
But the BMW skidded on the slick, snow-covered roadway into the back of a taxi cab at the corner of Tenth Avenue and Dyckman St., just steps from Blake's home, where the suspect jumped from the driver’s seat and fled.
Cops summoned by the angry cab driver spotted saw what they believed to be a bullet hole in the trunk and some droplets of blood. They quickly popped the trunk and made the grim discovery of the unconscious lawyer lying inside, with his ear dangling by a thread.
Ajimotokan was rushed to Harlem Hospital, where doctors performed surgery. He remains in critical condition and is breathing with the help of a respirator, sources said.
The LinkedIn account of a man named Akeem Ajimotokan shows that he graduated from the Cardozo School of Law and had worked in the legal division of Macquarie Bank, which describes itself as a global financial firm.
Leslie Albrecht contributed reporting.