TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Video released in court shows police interrogating the man accused of killing his stepdaughter and stuffing her body in a suitcase.
Eight days after his stepdaughter Noel Alkaramla went missing, Johnny Oquendo was brought into the Troy Police Department. Detectives hoped to get leads on her disappearance.
Video of the interrogation was released at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday in Rensselear County Court.
Oquendo is accused of strangling Alkaramla in November 2015 before stuffing her body in a suitcase and sinking it in the Hudson River.
The nearly 90 minute interrogation video begins with detectives reading Oquendo his Miranda Rights. Oquendo said he understands them and signed a waiver.
“I have information that may or may not help,” Oquendo said.
He then admitted he was one of the last people who saw Alkaramla.
“I did see her that night,” he said.
“What time did you see her?” a detective asked.
“Okay, oh sir, I should talk to a lawyer before anything,” Oquendo responded.
In the remainder of the video, Oquendo sits in silence waiting for his public defender, William Roberts, to arrive.
Roberts argues detectives didn’t have the authority to detain Oquendo for the interrogation and they violated his rights to counsel. He wants the video dismissed from the upcoming murder trial along with evidence found at Oquendo’s home and cell phone records.
According to witness statements, Oquendo’s neighbors heard an argument and saw him leave with a large suitcase the night Alkaramla disappeared. About a week after she went missing, they also said Oquendo told a neighbor he needed a lawyer because “he messed up.”
New York State Police said they found DNA evidence on Alkaramla’s body that matches Oquendo’s.
Oquendo is charged with Murder, Strangulation and Concealment of a Human Corpse. The murder trial begins September 18.