The suspect who pushed a landlord down the stairs to his death told cops the landlord fell down the stairs while moving a mattress. But the fatal push was caught on a Ring doorbell camera.
Police say Edgar Moncayo, 70, and his tenant Alex Garces, 22, began arguing over $200 for rental property Moncayo owned in Queens, NY.
According to the Ring camera footage obtained by the NY Daily News, Moncayo is seen trying to gain access to Garces's Corona apartment on Sunday afternoon. "Call the police!" he yelled to his wife on his cell phone.
Moncayo then attempted to force his way into the apartment when Garces opened the front door. During the struggle, Garces shoved Moncayo down the stairs. He landed on his back and his head slammed into the sidewalk at the foot of the steps. Moncayo was transported to a hospital where he died from a traumatic brain injury, police said.
Moncayo's family said Garces paid $400 to move into a room in the two-story house on 102nd St. and Northern Blvd. about a month ago, according to the News.
"The first month he paid, and then he was trying to disappear," grandson Andy Jativa told the News. Jativa said Moncayo tried to work with Garces by dropping the rent by $200. "My grandfather said, 'I'm even dropping the price for you. I'm not a bad person.'"
Garces agreed to move out, but Moncayo wanted at least $200 of the unpaid rent. "He was trying to get paid. What is $200? You can borrow that money," Jativa said.
On Sunday afternoon, Garces and his brother used a drill to break into the house to retrieve their belongings, Jativa said.
The fatal encounter occurred when Moncayo showed up and asked them to leave.
Garces and his brother remained at the scene. He told cops Moncayo fell accidentally while helping them move a mattress.
But the Ring doorbell camera told the true story.
After downloading the Ring footage, cops arrested Garces on Monday, taking him into custody at a home on 32nd Avenue.
His mother, Delia Velastegui, 50, was inconsolable. "Oh my God! It was an accident!" she wailed. "My son is a good son. He is not a fighter."
Garces was charged with first degree manslaughter. He was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Tuesday, according to the News.
His bail was set at $25,000 after Garces' attorney Sanders Denis argued that he should be released without bail.
Denis called Moncayo's death "a sad and unfortunate incident." He avoided calling Moncayo's death an "accident."
"My client is the one who called the ambulance. When police came, he spoke to them," Denis said. "This is not intentional."