HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — The son of a former aide to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife knew the man he is charged with fatally stabbing, according to a prosecutor who told a judge Tuesday that both men were drug dealers.
Khari Noerdlinger, 19, of Edgewater, New Jersey, was arrested at his home Monday morning on aggravated manslaughter and other charges in the death of Savion Lewallen, of Spring Valley, New York. The stabbing occurred around the corner from Noerdlinger's house when a group of five men jumped him, prosecutors said.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer said the victim worked for Noerdlinger as a dealer and thought he was owed money.
Noerdlinger is being held on $500,000 bail and attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said he expects him to be released Tuesday or Wednesday.
"He was jumped. He was attacked and probably saved his own life," Lichtman said.
Noerdlinger's mother, Rachel Noerdlinger, resigned in 2014 after a string of damaging disclosures about her personal life, including Khari's arrest on misdemeanor trespassing charges. Those charges were dismissed after he completed a day of community service.
Rachel Noerdlinger was the chief of staff for first lady Chirlane McCray and had served as a spokeswoman for the Rev. Al Sharpton.
After she left her $170,000-a-year job with the city in 2014, news reports divulged that Noerdlinger's boyfriend had pleaded guilty to manslaughter 21 years earlier and mocked police as "pigs" on Facebook. A Department of Investigation probe also found that she omitted key information on her background check.
Authorities said Monday that Lewallen went to Edgewater on Sunday with four New York accomplices to commit armed robbery.
Grootenboer said Tuesday that Lewallen and Noerdlinger spoke on the phone while he was heading to New Jersey. Noerdlinger plunged his knife seven inches into Lewallen and struck his femoral artery during a fight, and his death was ruled a homicide, prosecutors said.
Lewallen had recently been released from the Rockland County jail after he was sentenced to five years of probation for holding and assaulting a 15-year-old girl for 90 minutes in the woods near the Spring Valley high school she attended, Rockland County officials said.
The four other suspects were arrested on robbery charges and were jailed on $750,000 bail.
Grootenboer said that Noerdlinger returned home after the stabbing and told someone about the incident before changing his clothes and returning to the scene with that person to take items away. Lichtman said that person was not Rachel Noerdlinger or anyone related to him.
He is also charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and hindering apprehension.