Almost three decades after a pregnant Bronx woman was mercilessly killed, her son lying by her body until she was found two days later, detectives have made an arrest in the slaying — a man who’d been released from prison two years earlier for killing another woman, police said.
Gregory Fleetwood, 66, of the Bronx, was linked by DNA to the slaying of Jasmine Porter and arrested Monday — over 26 years after she was slain in February 1996.
“When we got the call, it was amazing she wasn’t forgotten,” said Dereke Porter, 65, the woman’s brother. “It’s good work. The police department doesn’t always get their dues.”
Fleetwood had no relation to Jasmine Porter, 36, who was killed in her apartment on Davidson Ave. near W. 176 St. in Morris Heights, police said.
Her 4-year-old son was in the apartment when she was killed and spent the next two days by his mom’s side until she was found Feb. 5, 1996, Porter said.
“He locked himself in the apartment with her, tried to clean her nose, wipe the blood off her nose,” Porter said his nephew recalls of his mom’s horrifying death.
Jasmine Porter had suffered severe trauma to her neck and the city Medical Examiner declared her death a homicide.
“When neighbors didn’t see him go to school that Monday they realized something was wrong and called the police,” Porter said.
Jerry Barnes, 77, Porter’s former next door neighbor and superintendent, recalls a few of the woman’s concerned friends looking for her at the apartment.
“The fire department opened the door for them,” Barnes recalled. “They found her in the front bedroom, her son was in bed with his mother. He was nothing but a baby.”
“I couldn’t look,” he said. “I’ll never forget it.”
Jasmine Porter and her son were getting ready to move back to Long Island where she was raised before she was killed, her brother said, adding he believes she was pregnant at the time.
“We got her Section 8 switched to Nassau County and, believe it or not, that Friday the paperwork came through for her,” Porter said. “When tragedy struck she was in the process of getting her life together, she had some slips and falls in her life.”
Jasmine Porter was in school with the goal of landing an administrative job. Her son was raised by his maternal grandmother, who has since passed away.
“We never thought she would become a mom,” Porter said of his sister. “She liked to have fun, she enjoyed life. When she did get pregnant and finally had the baby she was a great mom.”
“It hurt my soul that I couldn’t save her,” he said. “My children loved her.”
At the time of Jasmine Porter’s death, Fleetwood had been out of prison for less than two years after pleading guilty to manslaughter and serving seven years — the minimum — at Cape Vincent Correctional. He was released in August 1994, Department of Correction records show.
Last year, the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad retested DNA found underneath the victim’s fingernails at the crime scene where she was murdered — a regular task for the unit as technology advances — and a match returned tying Fleetwood to the slaying, sources said.
After an investigation, the unit took Fleetwood into custody. He lives in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx — about 4 miles northeast of where Jasmine Porter was murdered, cops said. He was charged with murder.
At his apartment Monday evening, residents described Fleetwood as a friendly but “angry” man who would get drunk and allegedly grope women in the building.
“A little creepy, a little nosy, said Michelle Harris, 36. “He had wandering eyes.”
A longtime neighbor said he cut off contact with Fleetwood when he spotted inappropriate behavior.
“Reason I stopped hanging out with him,” he said. “He need to go get help.”
Fleetwood was also accused of three other violent Bronx assaults — one in 1984 where a woman claimed he raped and choked her, though her family pressured her not to testify in court; and another identical attack in March of 1996, but the woman died before she could press charges, police sources said.
In 2002, his DNA was tied to a Bronx rape, but the victim couldn’t identify him in a lineup, telling police she was high on drugs during the attack.
“I believe firmly that you get by, but you don’t get away,” Porter said of Fleetwood’s arrest. “You have to answer for your deeds. This person was going to get his anyway.”
Fleetwood’s arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court was pending Monday evening.
“It’s remarkable,” Porter said of the arrest. “She loved us, she loved her brothers and her sisters. She loved life.”