WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. A Yonkers bus driver accused of shooting a White Plains woman to death in the Main Street apartment where her dehydrated 4-month-old daughter was discovered was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of second-degree murder.
Michael Saunders, 49, was picked up as a person of interest in the death of Sabrina Durrah, 35, from his work at Liberty Lines in Valhalla at 8 p.m. Monday. After detectives questioned him, Saunders was charged with felony second-degree murder Tuesday morning.
City Court Judge Barbara Leak granted the adjournment requested by Saunders Legal Aid attorney and moved the case to April 3. While Saunders remains in the Westchester County jail, Leak asked his attorney to research whether Saunders could afford his own attorney. The prosecution said his 1998 BMW and 19 years of employment at Liberty Lines may disqualify him from Legal Aid representation.
Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said he anticipates the District Attorneys Office bringing several charges against Saunders. Police think Saunders is the father of Durrahs 4-month-old, Jayme, who was left alone with the body for at least a day before police entered Apartment 3H at 312 Main St. on Saturday afternoon.
The M.E. (medical examiner) is eventually going to give us that estimate, but from visuals that we saw, it was at least a day, Chong said.
The complaint police filed said Saunders did cause the death of Sabrina Durrah by shooting her multiple times in the head and chest.
Saunders had a wife under common-law marriage and at least one child in Yonkers, Chong said. He described the motive as a domestic incident, emphasizing that this is not a stranger that did this.
The Rev. Erwin Trollinger, a cousin of Durrahs who attended the arraignment, said Jayme was released from the hospital to relatives and is healthy and beautiful.
Trollinger, minister at White Plains Calvary Baptist Church, said the babys health was a testament to why we believe in God. He said his family has grown closer since a cousin who had trouble reaching Durrah discovered her body Saturday afternoon.
Shes very loving, very caring. She loves her family. Im not going to put that in past tense, Trollinger said.
Trollinger said his family was not familiar with Saunders.
Im numb because he looked like an ordinary person, he said.
Although police wouldnt say when the killing occurred, neighbors in The Wellington apartment building said detectives were asking them what they observed between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21.
The detective told me I definitely wouldve heard it, even with music on, if I was home, said Stephanie LeBlanc, 21, who lives directly above Apartment 3H.
Neighbors said Durrah, a former home health care aide, was a devoted mother often seen on daily walks with her baby.
Chong commended the police and detectives for "working around the clock and swiftly apprehending a suspect."
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