Boyfriend kills girlfriend and leaves a note explaining why

December 11, 2017 06:34 PM

Police say when a Rochester man beat his girlfriend to death, he left a note next to her body explaining why he did it. It's another domestic-related murder in our community.

If you talk to police they'll tell there are very few, if any, stranger murders in our area. They say the killers know who they're killing.

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But News10NBC found data that goes deeper than that. This is about people who kill members of their family and people they love or should love. And last year in New York State, only Buffalo, Erie County had more domestic-related murders than Monroe County.

When Rochester police found Syreeta Knight dead inside her apartment on Bernard Street Saturday afternoon they found a note next to her body. Police say it was written by her boyfriend Elwell McPhail. Police say McPhail wrote he killed Knight because of "disrespectful comments and infidelity."

McPhail is charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty in Rochester City Court Monday morning.

Kimberly Barnes-Ellis, Baden Street daycare director: "I wish that if Syreeta was having these types of problems that she could have reached out to anyone of us here."

Kim Barnes-Ellis and Mary Mack-Larkins worked with Syreeta Knight at the Baden Street Daycare. Knight's photo is on the class pictures hanging in the lobby. Mack-Larkins said she knew there was trouble.

Mary Mack-Larkins, Baden Street daycare teacher: "Honestly, I tried to talk Syreeta to get out of a relationship like that."

Monday, News10NBC asked the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services for the number of domestic homicide cases in New York State.

Here are some of the numbers for 2016:

Monroe County: 8
Suffolk County (Long Island): 8
Erie County: 9

In a five year period in Monroe County the numbers went down and then came back up.

2012: 9
2013: 6
2014: 1
2015: 4    
2016: 8

Jaime Saunders, President CEO Willow Domestic Violence Center: "It hits you in your gut."

Jaime Saunders is the President and CEO of the Willow Domestic Violence Center. She believes the domestic murder numbers in the state chart are low because people don't talk about it and police don't track it. She says there are 50,000 911 calls about domestic disputes in Monroe County every year.

Jaime Saunders, President CEO Willow Domestic Violence Center: "When it ends in homicide we all have to take a step back and recognize the life that was lost and as a community we have to determine what is our role in this? It is not just that one person that committed that crime against another. It is a community wide issue and it deserves a community wide response."

In Greece this year there have been three murders. Greece police consider all of them domestic-related.

If you are being abused or know someone who is, this is the hotline for the Willow Domestic Violence Center is 222-SAFE (7233).


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