HELL'S KITCHEN — A Community Board 4 member was murdered in his own apartment after inviting a violent ex-con to come home from a bar with him, prosecutors said.
Khemraj Singh, 46, was found dead in his bathtub, covered in stab wounds and wrapped in a shower curtain, after meeting Jeffrey Wong, 41, at a Midtown bar Tuesday night and bringing him home to his nearby apartment 375 W. 48th St., near Ninth Avenue, prosecutors and sources said.
Wong, who was arrested Thursday and arraigned Friday on murder charges, admitted going home with Singh, claiming the victim invited him back to his apartment to do cocaine, prosecutors said.
But Wong claimed Singh then put on a pornographic film, went into the bathroom and came out naked. Wong claimed he tried to leave the apartment, but said Singh pulled a knife on him and prevented him from leaving, according to prosecutors.
Wong said he then shoved and punched Singh, in a bid to escape.
"When he was told the victim had been stabbed, the defendant said the victim must have fallen onto the knife," Assistant District Attorney Lisa Franchini said Friday.
A friend found Singh Wednesday about 12:45 p.m. naked and lying face up in his bathtub, the NYPD and prosecutors said. He was covered in blood, wrapped in a shower curtain and had a bath mat covering his head, according to sources.
The friend had gone to his home after Singh missed a meeting he had been meant to chair, and found his door ajar, the sources said.
Singh was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Investigators found a knife under Singh's body and a bloody pair of scissors elsewhere in the apartment, sources said. The medical examiner was still determining Singh's cause of death, a spokeswoman said.
Wong has a long rap sheet, including a conviction in July 1996 for a Manhattan assault in which he stabbed a man in the head, court records show. He was released in June 2000, but then returned to prison for four months in 2002 on a parole violation, records show.
Singh's death shocked local politicians who knew him. His legal aid lawyer, Thomas Klein, did not comment at Wong's arraignment.
"His warmth and enthusiasm will be greatly missed," Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote on Facebook. "He was a valued member of Community Board 4 and a friend who loved political and civic issues... He focused on helping neighbors."
Singh was appointed to Community Board 4 in 2012.
"Khemraj was always upbeat and jovial," CB4 officials said in a statement. "We hope his death will not go unpunished. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends."
Singh had endeared himself to his neighbors who said he was friendly and caring.
"He was a fixture of the community," said nearby hardware store owner, Felix Atlasman, 46. "He'd treat you like a friend even if he'd met you five minutes ago. He was one of the most pleasant people you'll ever meet."