Arraignment postponed for Waterloo double homicide suspect

July 20, 2018 06:05 PM

The arraignment for the suspect in the Waterloo double homicide has been postponed. 

Emerson "John" Tohafjian ,48, has been indicted on 19 felony counts by the Seneca County grand jury. 

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The indictment filed against Tohafjian includes four counts of murder in the first degree, four counts of assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, three counts of burglary, tampering with a witness, intimidating a victim or witness, criminal use of a firearm, reckless endangerment, and three counts of criminal contempt.

The indictment alleges Tohafjian entered an apartment on Virginia Street in violation of three orders of protection, caused the death of 45-year-old Chuck Andrus and 53-year-old Lori McConnell, and injured 50-year-old Karen Zdunko by means of a deadly weapon.

As Tohafjian was brought in the side door at the Seneca County Courthouse Friday, the families of his alleged victims filled the courtroom.  

"I felt my heart in my chest, in my throat.. there's not much to think... it's, we're ready to proceed," said Matthew VanDoren, son of Lori McConnell. 

Lori McConnell's family wants justice. 

"Before John took her life, that week she told me, 'this is my second chance to be a mom and a grandma after this monster is gone,'" VanDoren added.  

In court on Friday, Tohafjian asked the judge to postpone his arraignment in order to secure a private lawyer. The judge agreed, adjourning it until August 6.

When asked if he wanted to say anything, Tohafjian said no because "the court system is a joke."

McConnell's family was infuriated. 

"We got to sit next to John today. The whole time in the courtroom he kept looking around, shaking his leg like nothing was going on, looking around... he smiled at me twice when I got there, smiled at me when I left," said VanDoren. 

Tohafjian will remain in the Seneca County Jail without bail until his arraignment. 


Jennifer Lewke

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