Police have arrested a 23-year-old man in the murder of his 54-year-old lover, Joseph Benzinger, The New York Daily News reports.
Benzinger was strangled to death on February 9th at the Crown Motor Inn at 74-01 Queens Boulevard. He was discovered in his hotel room around 11:45 p.m. with a t-shirt wrapped around his neck.
Police arrested Lleuyel Garcia, charging him Thursday with murder and robbery in connection to Benzinger's death.
Police believe Garcia and Benzinger had a sexual relationship before the murder.
"I commend the swift action taken by the NYPD to make an arrest in the murder of Joseph Benzinger," said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) of the arrest, in a statement.
"Despite the arrest, it is vitally important that we continue to remain vigilant," he said. "The other murders committed against gay men remain unsolved but I am hopeful that the NYPD will capture the perpetrators. Again, I want to urge everyone that it is always important to practice safety whether meeting people online or in person."
Benzinger was the third New York City gay man in the past three weeks to have been found strangled to death, although cops believe the crimes are not connected.
53-year-old David Rangel, a middle school teacher, was also strangled to death by an assailant. His body was discovered 32-23 91st Street in Queens on February 3. There was no sign of forced entry into the apartment.
The body of 48-year-old Charles Romo was discovered inside his Hamilton Heights apartment in January. Cops suspect a male lover may have helped rob and beat Romo.
Both of those murders remain unsolved.