NEW YORK, N.Y. (WPIX)—Investigators say a 23-year-old student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is behind last month's brutal killing of civilian NYPD criminologist, Michelle Lee.
Gary McGurk, a collegiate soccer player and native of Ireland, faces life in prison if found guilty of murdering Lee, who was discovered inside her Sunnyside apartment with a knife in her throat on the morning of April 27th. The 24-year-old victim, a recent graduate of John Jay, had been working in the NYPD Queens crime lab for seven months.
Prosecutors say they have "substantial" DNA evidence connecting McGurk to the murder scene, though the defendant claims it's only natural his DNA would be in Lee's apartment. "He was there at least 10 times prior to this incident. So it's not strange that his DNA was there," said defense lawyer Ron Rubinstein.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown issued a statement calling Lee a "young woman with a bright and promising future which was abruptly cut short by her brutal and senseless murder..." Brown's statement goes on to describe McGurk as an ex-boyfriend of Lee, however Rubinstein claims his client was romantically involved with someone else.
"I think it's very interesting that my client has a girlfriend that the police know of that he was with. She was there last night. So this is not a question that he and Michelle were boyfriend and girlfriend. "
Rubinstein would not deny McGurk had a sexual relationship with Lee.
At McGurk's arraignment, prosecutors claimed the John Jay student was trying to flee when police closed in on him Thursday night. They say he was walking out of a side door carrying a passport and a bag of clothes. Rubinstein countered, saying his client was just moving some clothes into his mother's house.
McGurk is charged with 2nd degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and criminal possession of a weapon. He is being held without bail.