NEW YORK – The ex-convict accused of beating and strangling a suburban teenager after she left a Manhattan club declared his innocence in a jailhouse interview.
"I apologize for your loss. Sincerely I apologize," Draymond Coleman said, directing his words to the 18-year-old's family. "But I had nothing to do with this. You're looking at the wrong guy."
Coleman has been charged with murder in the brutal slaying of Jennifer Moore, whose body was discovered last month in a trash bin in West New York, New Jersey, investigators said. He spoke to the New York Post from the jail on Rikers Island, where he is being held without bail until an Aug. 25 hearing.
"I didn't kill that girl," he told the newspaper.
Authorities have said Coleman, 34, has a lengthy criminal record, including arrests for drugs, robbery and assault.
Coleman described himself as "not wholesome," but added: "I don't have that type of thing on my record." He said he had spent his childhood in jail and foster care.
The accused man offered an alibi, claiming that he had "hooked up" with a "working girl" at or near the Port Authority bus terminal on the night of Moore's death. They then took a walk to the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum before Coleman returned home, he said.
"I wish I knew who (the woman) was," he said. "She could talk to the cops."
The museum is not far from the West Side Highway spot where Moore is believed to have wandered off after becoming stranded in the city following a night of drinking.
A law enforcement official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation had not been completed, has previously said that police believe Coleman lured or forced Moore into a cab and took her to Weehawken, New Jersey. The official said that a surveillance video from Coleman's motel there showed him entering the building with Moore.
The teenager, from Harrington Park, New Jersey, had graduated from the exclusive Saddle River Day School in May and was planning to enter the University of Hartford in the fall.