Fugitive faces life in prison for allegedly killing girlfriend and her family in South Jamaica: DA

South Jamaica homicide
Travis Blake was arraigned Monday in Queens Supreme Court on murder charges for a brutal triple homicide in South Jamaica in June. (Photos by Lloyd Mitchell)

Chilling new details have emerged in a brutal triple homicide case that turned a South Jamaica residence into a house of horrors in June.

Travis Blake, 29, was indicted by a Queens grand jury on murder charges and other crimes in the alleged killing of his girlfriend and her family in June. Blake, 29 was arraigned Monday, Sept. 19, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ushir Pandit-Durant on a six-count indictment charging him with murder in the first degree, three counts of murder in the second degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

According to the indictment, during the early morning hours of June 24, police from the 113th Precinct in Jamaica responded to a 911 call at the defendant’s residence at 116-11 155th St. and found three victims inside the home, 55-year-old Karlene Barnett, her 36-year-old son Dervon Brightly and her 22-year-old niece Vashawnna Malcolm. All three of them had been deceased for approximately two days.

According to the charges, video surveillance footage showing the entry points of the house on June 22 depicted Blake in the backyard at around 2:50 a.m. apparently bleeding from a hand injury and using a hammer to drive a nail into a beam of wood. The defendant then entered the house where the victim Brightly had previously entered approximately 30 minutes earlier. Hours later, at around 7:30 p.m., Barnett entered the residence and never exited again.

According to the charges, on June 24 a witness who also lives in the residence noticed an odor from Malcolm’s bedroom and discovered her body after opening the door. The witness called 911. Once on the scene, detectives found Malcolm dead in her second-floor bedroom, undressed from the waist down, and bound with duct tape with several apparent puncture wounds to her chest, according to the indictment. During a search of the home, police gained entrance to a locked basement door and followed a trail of blood to a bedroom where Barnett was found with apparent head trauma injuries and several puncture wounds to her body. Police also discovered Brightly in the basement with head trauma injuries and puncture wounds on his body.

Detectives recovered several bloodstained items including a hammer, screwdriver and a beam of wood with a nail embedded in it, according to the charges. Items including a bloodstained bucket, bloodstained bottles of household cleaner and a mop were also discovered. Police recovered the cellphone, passport and valuables of the defendant Blake at the house.

Travis was tracked down by the NYPD’s Regional Task Force in Bar Harbor, Maine, on June 30 and he was extradited back to Queens after he fought the process over the summer. When he was booked at the 113th Precinct and led out in chains on Sept. 16, Blake was still wearing a Bar Harbor T-shirt.

“As alleged, this defendant carried out a horrific triple murder and then fled the state, leaving a devastated family and a mourning community in his wake,” Katz said. “Such brutal disregard for human life will not go unanswered. Despite being on the run immediately following the murders, the defendant is now in custody and faces justice in our courts.”

Justice Pandit-Durant ordered Blake to return to court on Oct. 18. If convicted, Blake faces up to life in prison.