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Chelsea Murder Suspects Planned to Steal from Victim Again, DA Says

By DNAinfo Staff on March 18, 2012 8:10pm

John Laubach
John Laubach
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By Paul Lomax and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Reporters

MANHATTAN — The suspects who allegedly killed and robbed a Chelsea event planner during a gay tryst were plotting to steal from him again just days before he died, according to chilling court documents.

Edwin Faulkner, 30, and Juan Carlos Martinez-Herrera, 30, appeared before a Manhattan Criminal Court judge Sunday to face a single count each of second-degree murder in the death of John Laubach, 57 on March 2.

On Feb. 20, just days before the murder, Faulkner, an ex-con who served three years in prison for grand larceny, allegedly said that he and Martinez-Herrera, who has a prior robbery arrest, were having sex with Laubach for money and "that they were going back to rob him of more valuables when the time was right."

Bolo will remain in a foster home until an appropriate permanent home can be found.
Bolo will remain in a foster home until an appropriate permanent home can be found.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

According to court papers, Faulkner admitted to choking Laubach, who was often spotted with his beloved cockatoo Bolo, at his West 22nd Street apartment. Realizing that he was dead, they allegedly bound the vicitm's hands and feet using electrical cord and tape around 9 a.m.

They also wrapped duct tape "tightly around his head and mouth," according to the court documents.

At that point, the suspects allegedly swiped Laubach's jewelry and laptop and ransacked the apartment.

About 2 1/2 hours later, Martinez-Herrera, carrying what appeared to be a laptop bag, was allegedly spotted on surveillance tape trying to use the victim's ATM card at a Chase branch on 14th Street and Seventh Ave.

But he entered the incorrect pin and was unsuccessful.

Around 12:30 p.m., both of the suspects went to a pawn shop near the bank branch, sold a piece of gold jewelry and tried to sell others, prosecutors said.

After several days on the run, detectives finally caught up to the suspects in Orlando, Fla. last Thursday.

Friends of Laubach's said that the victim befriended two "hustlers and grifters" in the days before he died.

Both Faulkner and Martinez-Herrera were held without bail and placed in protective custody. They are slated to appear in court again on March 21.