Metro Weekly

Gay Man Brutally Stabbed to Death on New York Subway

The suspect, a homeless man, allegedly stabbed the victim following a drug deal dispute.

The inside of the 14th Street-Union Square subway station in Manhattan. – Photo: Beyond My Ken, via Wikimedia

A homeless man accused of stabbing a gay man to death on the subway reportedly “casually and callously” smoked synthetic cannabinoids after plunging a knife into his victim’s heart, according to prosecutors.

Claude White, 33, was arraigned on June 20 on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly stabbing 32-year-old Tavon Silver, who was openly gay, while the two were riding aboard a southbound No. 4 train in Manhattan last Saturday morning around 4 a.m.

White allegedly argued with Silver over a dispute over drugs, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Victoria Meyer argued at the arraignment hearing. White allegedly gave Silver K2, or synthetic cannabinoids, in exchange for crack cocaine, but Silver smoked the K2 without following through on his end of the drug deal, Meyer said.

White became enraged, straddling Silver with his knees on his shoulders, immobilizing him and ultimately stabbing him, according to The New York Post

“The defendant had every opportunity in the world to choose not to kill this man, but in the defendant’s own words to the detectives, he felt that there must be ‘consequences,'” Meyer told the court. “So the defendant reached for a knife and he plunged it into Mr. Silver’s body while his 300-plus-pound body sat on top of Mr. Silver. He stabbed Mr. Silver twice in the chest, exposing his stomach and then ultimately puncturing his heart.”

Following the stabbing, White allegedly rummaged through Silver’s belongings and took back the K2 he had given him. He got off the train at the 14th Street/Union Square station, tossed the knife into the train tunnel, and threw his sweatshirt, drenched in Silver’s blood, into a trash can.

White then “casually and callously” walked over to a person waiting for a train and asked for a light to smoke the K2, according to Meyer.

Silver cried out to a conductor that he had been stabbed before passing out. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Silver had previously survived a separate stabbing last year in the Bronx, in which a fellow subway rider demanded that he turn down his music and hurled anti-gay slurs at him before attacking him, according to the New York Daily News.

White — whose address is listed as the Bellevue men’s center” — was also arraigned for a bank robbery he allegedly committed at a Manhattan Bank of America branch on June 6, after failing to show up for his original court date.

In that incident, he handed a teller a note demanding one hundred- and twenty-dollar bills and threatening to shoot them if they did not comply. He then allegedly stole money from a man who had just made a withdrawal.

White reportedly identified himself as the suspect in surveillance footage of the robbery, but claimed to have lied about having a weapon.

He previously pled guilty in 2011 to assaulting a man who was begging for money by hitting him in the head with a thick metal chain, according to the Post. In 2013, he was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to robbing and stabbing a wheelchair-bound homeless man, slashing the man’s hand so deep that muscle was protruding from the victim’s wound, according to prosecutors.

White’s parole officer testified at Tuesday’s arraignment hearing that White was “not suitable for community supervision” due to his history of skipping rehab programs, and called him a flight risk. Judge Paul McDonell agreed he was a flight risk, and ordered White be held without bail.

If convicted of Silver’s murder, White could face up anywhere from a 25-year prison sentence to a lifelong sentence.

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