After more than a week of investigation, a Queens bouncer emerged as the primary suspect in the murder and rape of a John Jay College graduate student.
Police questioned Darryl Littlejohn, 41, of South Jamaica, for two days at a Brooklyn precinct house about the Feb. 25 rape, torture and murder of Imette St. Guillen, a 24-year-old student who lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As of Wednesday afternoon, he had not been charged with the crime, but was being held at Riker’s Island for violating his parole from a previous stay in prison.
Police investigators dressed in white coveralls combed Littlejohn’s home on 121st Avenue for most of Tuesday. They removed several bags of potential evidence, including all of Littlejohn’s white socks and the backseat of his minivan.
Police later towed away Littlejohn’s gray Ford Windstar and another van, a dark blue Dodge Ram 250. They took plaster impressions of the dirt section of the house’s driveway.
On Feb. 25, following an anonymous tip, police found St. Guillen’s nude body wrapped in a floral blanket in a desolate area near the corner of Fountain and Seaview Avenue in Spring Creek, Brooklyn.
Her head was wrapped in packing tape and her hands and feet were bound with ties. She had been raped, sodomized, mutilated and strangled, with a tube sock stuffed down her throat.
St. Guillen, a dean’s list criminology student, was last seen alive, intoxicated at The Falls bar in SoHo, where Littlejohn is a bouncer, early in the morning on the day her body was found. She took a call from her friend, Claire Higgins, at around 3:50 a.m. Seventeen hours later, an anonymous male called to report the location of a body from a public phone at the Lindenwood Diner on Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn, according to police.
Littlejohn became the focus of the police investigation after The Falls’ co-owner and bartender Daniel Dorrian changed his initial statement to police about what happened at the bar after last call on Feb. 25. In his third statement to police, Dorrian said he instructed Littlejohn to escort St. Guillen out of the bar through a side door after the security gates had been lowered. Dorrian later heard a commotion in the hallway of the bar building, according to police.
Police scoured the building at 218 Lafayette St. and found a semen-stained sheet, as well as packing tape and ties that allegedly match those found on the body. They also discovered two cats and are seeking to match their hair with cat hair found on the floral blanket.
Police sources told several news outlets that Littlejohn’s cell phone records place him at home, which he shares with his aunt, Addie Harris, on the morning of Feb. 25 and near the spot where St. Guillen’s body was found later in the day. Police are trying to match Littlejohn’s DNA to skin found underneath St. Guillen’s fingernails.
Littlejohn maintained his innocence before asking for a lawyer on Tuesday. He called a Daily News reporter shortly before being taken into custody and told her that the police followed him home from work and staked out his house.
Littlejohn violated his parole by working at The Falls, since the terms of his release require that he be off the streets from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. His criminal history includes seven convictions, the most serious of which was a 1995 Long Island bank robbery.