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Man Admitted Stabbing Mom and Brother Before Setting Apartment Ablaze

By Irene Plagianos | November 12, 2012 5:18pm

MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — A 31-year-old man accused of murdering his mother and critically wounding his brother before setting their Harlem apartment ablaze admitted to the brutal crimes after his arrest, according to the criminal complaint released Monday.

Looking dazed and wearing a blue hospital shirt, shorts and no shoes, David Elias was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Monday on charges of murder, attempted murder and arson in connection to the Saturday afternoon attack and fire.

According to the complaint, Elias told officers that he “took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed his brother, that he stabbed his mother to death, and that he lit a pillow on fire and burned the couch” at the East 135th Street and Park Avenue apartment, where his brother and mother live.

Elias, who remained silent throughout the arraignment, was hospitalized after his Saturday arrest, according to reports.

Prosecutors said Elias slashed his brother, William Elias, 32, on the face and torso with a kitchen knife about 4 p.m. Saturday. But the brother managed to flee to his bedroom and barricade himself inside.

Elias’s mother, 55-year-old Ruth Montano, however, was left alone to fend off her knife-wielding son. Elias stabbed his mother at least twice in the chest, then set fire to a couch in the apartment, which set the whole apartment aflame.

William Elias broke a window in his room to call for help when he saw smoke, according to the complaint. A neighbor rushed to their aid and let firefighters into the building, prosecutors said.

David Elias, who does not live with his mother and brother, was arrested at the scene, with his face, sweater and sneakers covered with blood.

Several neighbors told DNAinfo.com New York that Elias had allegedly been involved in several violent incidents — including at least one prior slashing — at the home prior to the grisly slaying.

Montano was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital.

Elias, who was remanded without bail, is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 16.