2016-04-20 / Front Page

Cabbie Slasher Wanted In Shelter Murder

By Liz Goff
Police are continuing their search for an alleged serial slasher who knifed a livery driver in the neck and back on Saturday morning.

Cops said William Smith, 53, who robbed and slashed a livery driver in Corona on April 16, is also a suspect in the brutal murder of a man inside a Manhattan homeless shelter on April 15.

Police said Smith hailed cabbie Manuel Vera on 103rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, and drove him to a Holiday Inn on the Horace Harding Expressway near Van Cleef Street in Corona just after midnight on April 16.

When Vera turned to ask Smith for the $10 fare, Smith put a knife to the side of Vera’s neck and told the cabbie to pull to the back of the hotel, a police source said.

“This guy was crazy,” Vera told reporters outside Elmhurst Hospital Center. “When I say $10, he takes out a knife. I say, “Take it easy, take it easy.”  He said, “Give me your…money.”

Police said Vera was slashed in the neck and back when he wrestled with Smith. “He was slicing all over the place,” Vera said.

Smith jumped out of the car with Vera’s cash, but suddenly tried to get back in, a police source said. Vera locked the doors and dialed 911, and Smith ran off leaving his wallet and cell phone in the rear of the cab.

Smith jumped out of the cab with Vera’s cash and turned to run, police said. Vera locked the doors and was dialing 911 when Smith suddenly tried to get back in the cab.

“Smith apparently realized he dropped his personal items when he was attacking Vera,” a police source said. “Vera was lucky he locked the door.”

Vera was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where doctors used 10 stitches to close a gash in the side of his neck, just inches from his jugular vein. Doctors used another 15 stitches to close a gash in Vera’s back.

“It was really scary,” Vera said. “He could have killed me.”

Cops said Smith has been arrested more than a dozen times since 1982 for non-violent crimes.

Smith is wanted for questioning in the gruesome murder of 56-year-old Marcus Guerrero, who was found dead by a security guard at about 8:30 a.m. on April 15, inside the Bellvue Men’s Shelter in Manhattan.

Police conducted a massive manhunt for Smith on April 16, and released a mug shot of Smith, who is described as a black male, 5-feet, 7-inches tall, 160 pounds and bald, with a slight moustache.

Anyone with information is urged to call the CrimeStoppers HOTLINE at 1-800-577-TIPS or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

The HOTLINE is offering a reward of up to $2,500 to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.


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