A Connecticut man arrested and charged for killing a homeless man allegedly told detectives that he beat the man because he believed he was gay and had made a pass at him.
Elijah Humphrey, 32, of Bridgeport, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and first-degree intimidation due to bias — also known as a bias enhancement or “hate crime” charge — for allegedly beating 49-year-old Daniel Engledrum so severely that he died from his injuries.
Police were dispatched to Fairfield Avenue, on the city’s West Side, on Jan. 11, in response to a report of a man on the ground bleeding. Upon arriving, they found Engledrum lying in a pool of blood, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Engledrum was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center, dying two days later from complications stemming from the assault. The cause of death was later determined to be blunt impact to the head, reports the Connecticut Post.
Police detectives learned that Engledrum was homeless and had been living in a small homeless encampment on the front porch of the former Greater St. John Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, at 804 Fairfield Avenue. The detectives recovered surveillance video of the area, which showed a man — later identified as Humphrey — walking along Fairfield Avenue before being approached by Engledrum.
The video shows the two men have a brief conversation and Humphrey continues walking, only to stop a short distance away and walk back to the homeless man. He then repeatedly punches him in the head, face and body. Engledrum tries to escape, but Humphrey is allegedly seen grabbing him around the waist, lifting him into the air, and throwing him headfirst onto the pavement before fleeing the area.
Police eventually identified and arrested Humphrey, who told detectives that the homeless man had muttered something indistinguishable before he attacked him.
“I chopped him in his neck and I beat him up …I slammed him, it’s like rage man, it took over me man,” Humphrey told detectives, according to the affidavit.
Humphrey allegedly told detectives later in the interview that he believed Engledrum had made a “mmm.mmm.mmm” sound, which he interpreted as coming onto him.
“Do something like that…he’s ready to die, he’s giving his life up,” Humphrey reportedly said.
In a preliminary hearing last week, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Nicholas Bove urged Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court Judge Maria del Pilar Gonzalez to set a high bond for Humphrey, due to a previous bias-related conviction.
In 2018, Humphrey pled guilty to third-degree assault and second-degree intimidation due to bias for allegedly attacking a Stamford man because he believed him to be gay. He was sentenced to four years in prison and served one year before the sentence was suspended and he was released on three years’ probation.
Humphrey’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Christine Schwartzstein, argued that Humphrey had successfully completed his probation on his last conviction. But Gonzalez expressed concerns about the severity of the crime and Humphrey’s previous conviction, ordering Humphrey to be held on $1 million bond.
Humphrey is next slated to appear in court on Jan. 31.
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