Dad-of-2 Vanished After Barbershop Encounter with Friend — Who Is Now Charged with Murder
Angelo Nesemi is charged with allegedly killing his longtime friend, Michael Stewart, and gutting his apartment to get rid of evidence, say prosecutors
A New York man has been charged in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of a longtime friend who disappeared a day after they were known to have run into each other in December, multiple outlets report.
On Monday, Angelo Nesimi, 33, of Staten Island, was indicted and accused of fatally stabbing Michael Stewart, 40, and disposing of his body, outlets including The New York Times, the Staten Island Advance and local radio station WCBS 880 report.
Nesimi was charged with second-degree murder, first- and second-degree manslaughter, tampering with evidence and concealment of a corpse, the Staten Island Advance reports.
His landlord, William Formica, 58, was charged with tampering with physical evidence and hindering the prosecution after he allegedly helped Nesimi get rid of evidence in his apartment by ripping out flooring and sinks, the Advance reports.
They both pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Monday, WCBS reports.
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Stewart, an out-of-work construction worker and father-of-two from Staten Island, disappeared in the early hours of Dec. 21, a day after he ran into Nesimi in a barbershop — an impromptu meeting that was caught on security camera footage, the Times reports.
Stewart had been drinking at a nearby bar when he ran into his friend, the Times reports. Hours later, he disappeared, sending his mother a mysterious text, the Times reports.
While Stewart’s family launched a desperate search for him, prosecutors believe he was already dead.
“The defendant used a dangerous knife to stab the victim to his death inside the residence of where the defendant lived,” Assistant District Attorney Andrew Botelho said, the Advance reports.
After allegedly stabbing Stewart, prosecutors say Nesimi asked Formica to help him dispose of all evidence in his apartment, including removing a refrigerator, sinks, molding, flooring, sheets, and towels, WCBS reports.
They allegedly disposed of the items at a construction site Formica owns, the Advance reports.
Authorities have been searching for Stewart’s body in landfills in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Times reports.
The Advance reports that DNA evidence was allegedly found on clothing inside Nesimi’s apartment; the Times reports Stewart’s DNA was found on the lining of the truck bed allegedly used by the suspects to dispose of items from Nesimi’s apartment.
Nesimi’s girlfriend told police that Nesimi had allegedly killed a man when he was arrested Dec. 30 on a weapons charge after allegedly assaulting her, the New York Daily News and the Times report.
Nesimi’s lawyer, Mario Gallucci, told the Times, “These are just the musings of a jilted lover,” and added, “They’re basing their whole case on statements of a girlfriend that he had broken up with.”
While police are still searching for a motive, Stewart’s family is mourning his loss.
“He was a good father, a good person,” Stephanie Garcia, who is the mother of Stewart’s daughter, told the Times.
Calls to Nesimi’s lawyer and to the district attorney’s office were not immediately returned. It was not immediately clear if Nesimi has entered pleas to any of the charges he faces.
Formica’s lawyer tells PEOPLE he has no comment.