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A woman who grew up in Coney Island lost her life there Sunday when she was stabbed to death and then dismembered allegedly by an unhinged livery cab driver obsessed with the young beauty, police said.
Nearly a week after the gruesome murder of 27-year-old Jessica Giudici, the shock of her death continues to reverberate with those who grew up with the home-health aide, who had just celebrated her birthday a week earlier.
“She was just a pretty girl. I can’t believe this is happening,” longtime friend Xavier Franks told the New York Post a day after her hacked-up remains were found in her killer’s apartment on West 19th Street near Mermaid Avenue.
Dozens of Giudici’s friends left behind birthday messages and other missives of sorrow, shock and loss on a cardboard memorial left in front of the building where the Lafayette High School graduate was slain.
Friends said that Giudici grew up with 12 siblings inside the Gravesend Houses on West 33rd Street. Her friendly demeanor and wide smile always drew people to her.
One of those people was Saleh Al-Muwallad, the 53-year-old livery cab driver who police alleged killed her.
Al-Muwallad allegedly called police to his apartment just after 10 p.m. on April 26 claiming that he was suicidal.
When police from the 60th Precinct arrived at the scene, they allegedly found Al-Muwallad sitting on the front stoop of his apartment building.
“I killed her,” Al-Muwallad said as he beckoned the officers to go inside, where they found a knife on the floor in the bedroom, sitting in a congealing puddle of blood, according to police.
Next to the blood-soaked floor was four-heavy duty garbage bags, each containing some of Giudici’s remains, officials alleged.
Al-Muwallad was immediately taken into custody, where he underwent a psychiatric evaluation.
Late Monday, cops had charged him with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Prosecutors said that the 53-year-old was remanded to custody as the case goes before the grand jury.
According to published reports, Al-Muwallad allegedly believed that Giudici was his girlfriend and was outraged when he learned that she was dating someone else, police said.
Friends and family members said that Giudici never dated Al-Muwallad and actually tried to avoid him when she could.
“He followed her,” Giudici’s best friend, Michelle Cooper, told the Daily News. “He gave her free rides. She’d always tell him, sometimes, ‘Leave me alone.’”
It was unclear just how Al-Muwallad allegedly got Giudici to his apartment, although she was last seen accepting a ride from him to a local pharmacy to pick up some Benadryl, police said.
As this paper went to press, the family had not announced funeral arrangements for the 28-year-old, although they are working with setting up a fitting memorial with members of City Councilmember Domenic Recchia’s office.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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