MAPLEWOOD, NJ – When Karen Bermudez-Rodriguez, an au pair who lived in Maplewood with a New York City comedy club owner and his family, attempted to breakup with her boyfriend Joseph D. Porter in the early morning hours on Saturday, the situation turned deadly.
Court documents show that Bermudez-Rodriguez, 26, texted Porter between 1:30 and 2 a.m. on Aug. 3, saying that she wanted to end their relationship and for him to return her keys back to her.
Porter became upset after receiving the text message, and at about 6 a.m. that morning used the keys to enter the house on Walton Road, which is where he stabbed the homeowner, David Kimowitz, 40, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Maplewood Police pronounced Kimowitz dead at the scene. His wife and two young children were not home when the murder occurred.
He tied Bermudez-Rodriguez’s hands together with tape and chased her out of the house with a knife, also stabbing her, according to the affidavit. Police found Bermudez-Rodriguez lying on the ground in front of a house on Woodland Road. She was transported to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 7:17 a.m.
Maplewood Police reported to the scene around 6 a.m. after they received a 911 call from a Woodland Road resident who authorities said heard people fighting and witnessed a man attacking Bermudez-Rodriguez.
Porter was arrested over the weekend at Newark Airport where he was trying to fly to Cancun, Mexico and charged in connection with the double homicide. His detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8, at 9 a.m., in the Essex County Court House before Judge Nancy Sivilli.
“It’s shocking to see something like this,” Maplewood resident Gary Matles said about the crime on Saturday.
News of the murders shocked the community, which is filled with suburban streets and moderate to large-sized homes, not far from Maplewood Village, a center of town that has shops and restaurants.
Neighbors described David Kimowitz, the owner of The Stand Restaurant & Comedy Club in New York City, and his family which includes his wife Laura and two young children, as neighbors who they made small talk with.
“Their kids were younger than a lot of the other kids in the neighborhood,” said township resident Andrew De la Torre. “They were nice people.”
De la Torre said he would have small conversations with Kimowitz when the two saw each other in the neighborhood.
The Stand Comedy Club posted its condolences on its website.
“Our dear friend and partner, David Kimowitz, was tragically taken from us early Saturday morning,” read part of the condolence. “He treated everyone like family, and was a beacon of light, wisdom, positivity and kindness to so many comics in an otherwise unforgiving profession.”
Donations for Kimowitz may be made to The David Kimowitz Memorial Fund through Venmo: @thedavidkimowitzmemorialfund and Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org, according to Kimowitz’s obituary. Checks may also be mailed to 10 Prospect Road, Livingston, NJ 07039.
Others remembered Bermudez-Rodriguez with memorial service they held in Ricalton Square on Sunday afternoon.
They placed a memorial with flowers, candles, and notes expressing their sympathy for the 26-year-old au pair, who lived in Maplewood but according to Essex County Press Spokesperson is originally from Colombia.
The Au Pair Community of Maplewood/South Orange started a fundraiser for Bermudez-Rodriguez on Facebook to raise money for unforeseen expenses with bringing her back to Colombia to be laid to rest.
The Facebook link to the fundraising page is https://www.facebook.com/donate/503956403684986/10157416459097298/.