A man who died after jumping out of a freezer at a New York restaurant brandishing a knife was a suspected murderer in a cold case, police have said.
Carlton Henderson, who had just been released from a Boston prison, screamed, “Away from me, Satan!” as he leapt from a walk-in freezer at Sarabeth’s restaurant in Manhattan.
Staff took the knife from Mr Henderson and wrestled him to the floor, where he went into cardiac arrest on Sunday, according to police. He later died in hospital.
The 54-year-old, from Cave Creek in Arizona, was facing murder charges over the killing of William Medina, 26, and Antonio Dos Reis, 22, who were shot while sitting in a parked car in Boston in 1988.
Police suspected the killings were connected to a San Diego-based drug-trafficking ring, according to court records provided by the Suffolk County district attorney's office.
Detectives believed its leader Leslie Rogers, killed by police in 1994, had ordered the slayings, the documents said.
Mr Henderson became a suspect after bullets from the Boston killings were matched to a gun recovered in a fatal shooting in Miami in 1993.
He was arrested in St Louis, Missouri, in June 2017 and extradited to Boston, where he was charged with two counts of first-degree murder based on statements to the police in 1993 that suggested his involvement in the killings.
But he was later released after Judge Janet Sanders said the comments could not be admitted as evidence because he made them on the understanding they could not be used against him.
Investigators were treating him as a cooperating witness during his questioning and Mr Henderson was looking to trade the information for a reduction in his 15-year prison sentence on drug and gun charges at the time.
However, prosecutors argued such an immunity agreement would have been made in writing and no corroborating paperwork had been found.
Mr Henderson’s lawyer, John Amabile, said he was surprised to hear of the circumstances surrounding his client's death.
“My impression of him was that he was a very intelligent person who was very engaged as a client," he told The New York Times. "I did not get the sense that he was psychotic or mentally ill or physically ill.
Associated Press contributed to this report