Original article no longer available
The Westchester Journal News (Westchester County, NY)
November 18, 2000
Author: Will David; Staff, The Journal News
YONKERS – An elderly Yonkers widow found murdered in her fourth-floor walk-up apartment on South Broadway Tuesday was killed by a man who worked in the building as a superintendent, police said yesterday.
The suspect was identified as John Rabady, 36, of 37 Hillcrest Ave. in Ardsley. He was arraigned in Yonkers City Court yesterday, and charged with the second-degree murder of Stefania Rybak, a Ukrainian immigrant. Neighbors described the victim as a nice and quiet elderly woman who kept to herself.
Store owners on South Broadway who knew Rabady and residents of the building, which is owned by Elias Rabady – the suspect’s father – reacted with shock and surprise.
“Rabady! It was Rabady? Oh no! Not Rabady,” shouted Eileen Diaz, of the Yonkers Hardware Janitorial store next door to the five-story apartment building where Rybak lived.
The Rabady family has a business account with the hardware store, and the murder victim was also a patron, said owner Charles Spitzer. “We are all in shock here,” he said.
During a brief arraignment in court, Judge Joseph Liebowitz asked Assistant District Attorney James Byrne if Rabady could possibly face the death penalty.
“It appears unlikely that this is a case of murder in the first degree,” Byrne said.
Liebowitz ordered Rabady held in the county jail in Valhalla on no bail. The suspect, wearing black jeans, a multicolored sweater and green prison slippers, said nothing during the arraignment.
Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Cola said Rabady was arrested following an investigation by Detectives Thomas Powrie Jr., William Maher, Richard Marinelli and James Conca. The suspect made statements to the detectives that incriminated himself, Cola said.
Rabady worked in the victim’s apartment in the past. Also, neighbors told detectives he was knocking on several doors in the building the day Rybak’s body was found. Her nephew, Roman Goy, 57, found her dead in the apartment at 5:52 p.m., police said.
Police brought Rabady in for questioning because residents said he had been knocking on doors. Cola said Goy found only one of the three locks bolted on the door when he found his aunt dead.
“We suspected that she knew her killer because she was very safety-conscious,” Cola said.
Police believe the victim allowed Rabady into the apartment because he was the superintendent. The motive for the killing is not yet known, Cola said. Detectives are trying to determine if anything was stolen.
“We have not ruled out robbery,” said Cola.
Reached for comment, Rabady’s 38-year-old sister, who owns the Dairyland Deli on South Broadway, said she thinks the detectives arrested the wrong person.
“I don’t think it’s him,” said the woman, who refused to give her name. “He’s sick.”
Rabady’s sister said her brother had been on medication for a depression-like illness because of his recent break-up with his wife, who is the mother of his two daughters. She said she questioned the validity of any confession because her brother was on medication.
“I think he just made it up,” Rabady’s sister said.
Residents of the building and people in the neighborhood described Rabady as a quiet eccentric man who kept to himself and often was seen murmuring to himself.
“I never thought that this guy would do something like this. Believe me, I’m shocked,” said Ciro DiNardi, the owner of Napoli’s Pizza on South Broadway, where the pudgy Rabady was a frequent customer. “I thought he was harmless.”
Rabady cleaned the building halls and took out the garbage, residents said. All were surprised that he was charged with the death.
“Why would he do that? He has money,” asked Primo Joudrey, 40, who lived across the hall from the murder victim.
Lisa Lynn Zalewski, 34, said she, too, knew both people and was upset. “She was a nice lady. Oh God. It’s sad.”
Copyright (c) The Journal News. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: wst994190019326