Man Charged in Grand Central Stabbings Slashed Inmate, Officials Say

A Bronx man facing attempted murder charges after he stabbed two girls at Grand Central Terminal on Christmas Day slashed a fellow Rikers Island detainee in the head and face on Thursday, seriously injuring him, according to Correction Department officials.

It was not clear how the man, Steven Hutcherson, had obtained the 1.5-inch ceramic blade he used in the attack on the inmate: whether ineffective searching had allowed him to sneak it into the jail, or if he had acquired it inside.

The detainee who was attacked had four slashes to his face and received about 200 stitches, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Mr. Hutcherson, 36, was in a jail dorm at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island when, around 8 a.m. on Thursday, he attacked the other detainee, officials said.

Moments later, a correction officer deployed chemical spray — used by officers in the jails during violent incidents — on Mr. Hutcherson to subdue him. The officer helped the victim to a clinic on Rikers. The victim was later taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he received the stitches, officials said.

Mr. Hutcherson, who also uses the name Esteban Esono-Asue, was moved to another jail, where he was separated from other detainees.

Earlier in the week, on Christmas Day, Mr. Hutcherson had entered the Tartinery restaurant in Grand Central Terminal’s dining concourse around 11:30 a.m. Two teenage girls, 14 and 16, were seated in the restaurant with their parents. Mr. Hutcherson sat down near the family, which was visiting from Paraguay, and used an anti-white slur, saying, “I want to sit with the crackers.”

Shortly afterward, Mr. Hutcherson approached the family, who appeared to be white, and stabbed one of the girls in the back. As the family attempted to flee, he stabbed the second girl in the leg. Both girls were taken to Bellevue Hospital, where the older sister was treated for a collapsed lung, according to officials and court documents. Mr. Hutcherson faces charges of attempted murder and assault, both as hate crimes.

Mr. Hutcherson is also awaiting sentencing in a separate case from early November in the Bronx, in which he was charged with assault and harassment. He has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault. According to Police Department records, Mr. Hutcherson has had at least 15 run-ins with law enforcement this year, including harassing his ex-girlfriend’s family so severely that they obtained a restraining order against him.

Despite his history, Mr. Hutcherson was placed in a group setting at Rikers and appears not to have received any special screening.

Sarena Townsend, the Correction Department’s former chief of investigations, said the department used to have a unit to watch for potentially dangerous people entering the system. When someone comes into Rikers Island facing the charges that Mr. Hutcherson faces, she said, “you would expect that D.O.C. would have some sort of plan for this person.”

Mr. Hutcherson’s former girlfriend Charisma Knight, 37, said in an interview on Wednesday that she had called 911 seven times because he would not leave her family alone. Ms. Knight said she had repeatedly told the police that Mr. Hutcherson had serious mental health problems.

Ms. Knight said that if the authorities had taken her reports seriously, “then the girls would have been protected. They wouldn’t have had to go through that because he would have been incarcerated or in a mental institution, where he’s actually getting the help that he needs until he’s able to be released to society.”

Jan Ransom and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

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