KEW GARDENS — A Bitcoin trader charged with murder Tuesday beat his roommate to death with a hammer after being tied up and forced to liquidate his stocks, he told police.
Quentin Capobianco, 18, told police that his lawyer roommate, Jesse Smith, 29, had tied him up with duct tape and zip ties in their upscale Astoria apartment on Monday, and ordered him at gunpoint to sell his assets.
Capobianco told police at least one other person besides Smith was involved in the act.
The Queens District Attorney's office believes Capobianco's account but still hopes to convict him of murder because he escaped his bindings and went to another room where he snatched a hammer and clobbered Smith, his captor and business partner.
“I grabbed the hammer from the kitchen and hit Jessie three or four times until he was unconscious,” Capobianco told the police.
Capobianco and Smith ran a currency exchange business centered around Bitcoin, an online currency, according to government records and Bitcoin sites.
Sources told DNAinfo New York that Smith had argued with the young trader over damage done to the apartment in the Exo building at 26-28 21st St. about 3:30 p.m. Monday before tying him up.
Capobianco's lawyer Ronald Bekoff said it was too early to comment further on his client’s case, although he confirmed that the 18-year-old had a black eye — though he couldn't say how he got it.
Capobianco was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon at Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens. Judge Elisa Koenderman ordered him held on $250,000 bond.