Marist College parent murder: Suspects indicted after ‘unprovoked’ shooting as family releases obituary | US News

EXCLUSIVE: The New York ex-cons arrested on charges related to the “unprovoked” shooting of a Marist College student’s father inside a nearby Marriott hotel lobby were indicted on Friday as the loved ones prepare to lay the married dad of three to rest.

Roy A. Johnson and Devin Taylor were scheduled to be in court Friday on charges related to the Oct. 2 shooting death of Long Island native Paul Kutz inside a Courtyard by Marriott in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Friday afternoon hearing was canceled after the Duchess County District Attorney announced that a grand jury indicted Johnson and Taylor, who were arrested shortly after Sunday’s bloodshed.

Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady said in a statement that the charges on which Johnson and Taylor were indicted will be disclosed during an arraignment next week.

Johnson, 35, was being held on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Taylor, 26, was being held on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly having a loaded rifle with no serial number. Both men are said to be homeless.

To know Paul meant to love him, which is why we all hurt so badly as his young life ended so abruptly.

— Obituary for Paul Joseph Kutz

According to the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, officers received a call around 7:30 am Sunday for a report of a “disturbance” that involved shots being fired at a Courtyard by Marriott on South Road near Evergreen Avenue in Poughkeepsie.

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Kutz had been visiting the area from Long Island for “Family Weekend” at Marist College, which is located approximately four miles away and is where one of his three sons is a student.

Police arrived and discovered Kutz with gunshot wounds to his chest and torso inside the hotel, court records show.

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Investigators learned that Johnson opened fire and struck Kutz during an “unprovoked” shooting inside the hotel.

local news station NBC 4 New York cited a “source” in reporting that he and Taylor were allegedly smoking a “PCP-like substance” in a hotel room before the shooting.

Officials have described Kutz, an accountant who owned a financial planning firm, as being an innocent bystander in a “random” shooting. There were “no ties” between the victim and the gunman, Poughkeepsie Police Chief Joseph Cavaliere told reporters during a Monday press conference.

“The suspect did not know the victim,” Cavaliere went on. “This, we believe, was a random act.”

Investigators determined shots were fired both inside and outside the hotel. A search of the building revealed “manuals related to the making of explosive devices, as well as materials that, when combined, have the potential to be used as explosives” in a hotel room, police said.

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has not responded to Fox News Digital’s requests seeking comment regarding the materials.

Police vehicles outside the Courtyard by Marriott seen on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, where a Paul Kutz was shot and killed on Sunday.
(Credit: The Image Direct for Fox News Digital.)

Law enforcement in the nearby city of Poughkeepsie, which is separate from the town, have accused Johnson of being present at a previous homicide, on Aug. 9, involving a man named Darren Villani. Police had for months been seeking to question Johnson in connection with the murder.

“The identities and locations of witnesses, persons of interest and suspects have proven challenging and difficult to ascertain, including the location of Roy A. Johnson,” City of Poughkeepsie Police Capt. Richard T. Wilson wrote in a press release earlier this week. “Further, multiple sources have indicated that Roy A. Johnson had been eluding police through transient stays at unspecified hotels including hotels in multiple states outside of New York.”

Image shows mugshot photo for Roy Johnson, who was arrested in connection with the Oct.  2, 2022 shooting at a Poughkeepsie, NY Marriott

Image shows mugshot photo for Roy Johnson, who was arrested in connection with the Oct. 2, 2022 shooting at a Poughkeepsie, NY Marriott
(Dutchess County Jail)

According to officials, 28-year-old Villani was gunned down while in his car at the intersection of Mansion and Smith streets.

A woman who identified herself as Villani’s mother told Fox News Digital on Thursday that she could not speak about the case because she is working with the police.

NEW YORK SUSPECTS IN MARRIOTT HOTEL MURDER SEEN IN NEW MUGSHOT PHOTOS

This mugshot is from July when Roy Johnson Jr.  was arrested and charged in Fulton County, Ga.

This mugshot is from July when Roy Johnson Jr. was arrested and charged in Fulton County, Ga.
(Credit: Fulton County Sheriff’s Dept.)

Speaking in front of her Beacon, New York, home, she told Fox News Digital: “It gives us a little peace that he’s not out on the streets anymore.”

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Investigators had also been trying to track down Johnson, who was wanted for weapons possession and drug charges out of Fulton County, Georgia, officials said. Authorities said they did not know his whereabouts until Sunday’s shooting.

‘TRAGICALLY TAKEN AWAY FROM US’

Undated photograph shows Paul Kutz, who was shot and killed in a random shooting in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Oct.  2, 2022

Undated photograph shows Paul Kutz, who was shot and killed in a random shooting in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Oct. 2, 2022
(LinkedIn)

Kutz, a “devoted” married father of three, founded an accounting and financial advisory firm with his brother, and was lauded for being “brilliant,” according to an obituary published Friday.

The obituary describes how Kutz was “tragically taken away from us.”

“He had a beautiful smile coupled with deep dimples and brown eyes,” it goes on. “Paul was soft-spoken but could be very witty and displayed his great sense of humor when the opportunity arose.”

The obituary added: “To know Paul meant to love him, which is why we all hurt so badly as his young life ended so abruptly.”

A funeral is scheduled to be held at 11 am Monday at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kutz’s hometown of East Northport, New York.

Home of Paul Kutz in East Northport, NY, on Oct.  4, 2022.

Home of Paul Kutz in East Northport, NY, on Oct. 4, 2022.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

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The family has also created a GoFundMe to be put toward Kutz’s sons’ college educations. They have asked that donations be made to the Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center in Huntington, New York, in lieu of flowers.

Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.

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