Former prisoner accused of unsolved murders of mother and daughter in New York says: ‘I’m not guilty’

An ailing former inmate charged with the murder of a Harlem mom and her special needs daughter told a judge he was “holding in there” — and pleaded not guilty — as he was charged Thursday with murder in an unsolved 1994 case.

Larry Atkinson, 64, who is currently wheelchair-bound, suffered two homicides by strangulation of 57-year-old Sarah Roberts and her 25-year-old daughter Sharon Roberts at the Grant Houses apartment complex on February 20. 1994.

“You put the wrong person in jail,” Atkinson told Judge Altrea Drysdale during the arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court. “I am not guilty!”

But Manhattan prosecutors say Atkinson is a cold-blooded killer who got away with a double murder for almost three decades – until DNA technology caught up with him.

“As science advances, so does our ability to solve cold cases,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “Here, new technology has led to the indictment of the horrific murders of mother and daughter almost 30 years ago.”

Accused killer Larry Atkinson.
Larry Atkinson, 64, was charged with two counts Thursday in the unsolved murders of Sarah Roberts and her special needs daughter Sharon in Harlem in 1994.
Stephen Hirsh

Authorities said Atkinson was arrested by NYPD detectives last month after he was linked to the murders based on DNA evidence from a cigarette butt and nail clippings.

The former prisoner was meeting with a home health worker for Sharon Roberts, who was developmentally disabled, when the two victims were found in their apartment.

Assistant Celeste Cornelius still lives with Atkinson in her Harlem apartment.

The murder of Sarah and Sharon Roberts in Harlem on February 20, 1994.
Sarah Roberts, 57, and her special needs daughter, Sharon, 25, were found strangled to death in their Grant House apartment in Harlem on February 20, 1994.
New York Post

Sarah Roberts was found on her bed and her daughter on the floor with “a woolen stocking wrapped around her neck,” prosecutors said.

Atkinson has 28 arrests on his record and has served five state prison terms since 1985 for assault, drugs and attempted robbery, records show.

Now he suffers from cancer and other diseases, his lawyer said in court.

“On the 18th of this month, he will turn 65,” defense attorney Michel Villasenor-Grant said in a statement. “Rikers Island goes above and beyond to help my client resolve their medical issues.”

But, she added, “it’s hard for him to see and communicate with his family.”

When asked by the judge how he was doing, he took off his mask and said: “Hung there.”

Content Source

Dallas Press News – Latest News:
Dallas Local News || Fort Worth Local News | Texas State News || Crime and Safety News || National news || Business News || Health News contributed to this report.

Related Articles

Back to top button