N.J. Comedy Club Owner and Live-In Nanny Allegedly Killed by Her Boyfriend

Joseph Porter, 27, has been charged in connection with the Saturday killings

David Kimowitz
Photo: Facebook

The boyfriend of a New Jersey au pair has been accused of murdering her and the father of the family she worked for.

David Kimowitz, a 40-year-old dad who owned a comedy club in New York City, and Karen Bermudez-Rodriguez, 26, died Saturday morning in Maplewood, New Jersey, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release.

Maplewood police officers responded to a report of a woman being assaulted at a home in the New York City suburb just after 6 a.m.

“I heard a woman screaming, ‘Oh my god!’ over and over and over,” neighbor Kathy Cantwell told the New York Daily News. “It was 6 a.m. My window was open. I didn’t see anything. Someone was screaming from the top of their lungs.”

When officers arrived, they found Bermudez-Rodriguez lying injured in the street. She was taken to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and died of her injuries just over an hour later, prosecutors said.

Joseph Porter
Joseph Porter. Essex County Prosecutor's Office

Officers canvassing the area then found an unresponsive Kimowitz, a married father of two, in a home in the 400 block of Walton Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly said.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force and the Maplewood Police Department launched an investigation, ultimately leading to the arrest of Joseph Porter, the 27-year-old boyfriend of Bermudez-Rodriguez.

He was charged with two counts of murder, possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and criminal restraint, and is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility pending an appearance in Superior Court, Fennelly said.

Kimowitz, whose family was not home at the time of the attack, according to the Daily News, was co-owner of a Manhattan comedy club called the Stand Restaurant and Comedy Club in Union Square.

The space has hosted stars like Tracy Morgan, Janeane Garofalo and Dave Attell, according to its Facebook page.

A family friend told NJ.com that Bermudez-Rodriguez began working for the Kimowitz family more than a year ago, and had come to the U.S. from Colombia to learn English.

Neighbors also told the New York Times that they’d seen an unfamiliar man sitting in a dark-colored sedan near the family’s home for several days before the attack, though it’s unclear if it was Porter.

Kimowitz, who also served as a manager, was remembered by his colleagues as a kind and caring family man.

“This is such shocking news. A great guy and friend has passed this weekend. Just talked with him last week and Fri night. He seemed so happy, a wife, 2 kids, his new club opened. And now this horrific new. David Kimowitz you will be missed. RIP,” comedian Rich Vos wrote on Twitter.

Last Comic Standing alum Rachel Feinstein wrote, “David Kimowitz was such a kind and spirited person. He was always so joyous and silly and warm. Such a gift to our community. Sending love to his wife and children and all the people grieving and missing him. ❤️”

“I can’t believe you’re gone. Grateful for the time I had with you. Thank you for making me laugh through clouds of vape smoke and for believing in me at a time when no one else did. A great manager, family man, and friend. This so cruel. Rest In Peace David Kimowitz,” added comedian Subhah Agarwal.

The causes of death for Kimowitz and Bermudez-Rodriguez remain unclear, and the Daily News reports no murder weapon has been recovered.

It was not immediately clear if Porter has retained an attorney or entered a plea.

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