Waterloo double murder suspect arrested twice for domestic violence in June

July 12, 2018 12:33 PM

State Police and prosecutors released new details Thursday about the triple shooting that left two people dead and the suspected gunman.

The suspect, 48-year-old Emerson Tohafjian, remains in stable condition after cutting himself just before he was captured at a campground in Phelps. 

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A lot of neighbors want to know why Tohafjian, who was charged in other violent cases including rape, wasn't being held behind bars.

State Police tell News10NBC Tohafjian has a lengthy criminal history. Tohafjian, known to friends and family as John, is accused of shooting a man and woman to death and injuring another woman in an apartment on Virginia Street in Waterloo late Tuesday night.

Tohafjian has a criminal history dating back more than a decade. News10NBC has learned that in early June, Tohafjian was arrested on four misdemeanor charges. On June 19, he was arrested for first-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. He was released on $10,000 bail.  

Police would not confirm if she is one of the victims in the double murder, but sources who knew the suspect say she was.  

News10NBC's Lynette Adams asked the Seneca County district attorney if he requested a higher bail amount.

‘He was scheduled to appear on those original misdemeanor counts in the town court on June 27, 2018," Barry Porsche said. "He failed to appear. My office issued a bench warrant and recommended an additional $10,000 to $20,000 and the judge refused our request."

Jennifer Lewke spoke with Judge Duane Riegel in the town of Fayette. Tohafjian appeared in front of him twice for allegedly beating, raping, and choking the victim. The judge said he followed the district attorney's wishes when it came to setting bail/bond.

Back in 2012, Tohafjian was arrested in Wayne County for reckless driving and assault. He was convicted of robbery in Wayne County in 1990. He was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail and 5 years probation.

When Tohafjian is released from the hospital, he will be arraigned. A grand jury will decide if he will face additional charges.

State Police are asking businesses and people who live in the village of Waterloo to share surveillance video footage they might have. The time frame investigators are looking at is July 10 from 10:30 p.m. through midnight. Anyone with such footage is asked to call the State Police at 315-539-3530.

Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke and Lynette Adams will have the latest on this case on News10NBC at 5 and 6.


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