In a third-floor interrogation room at police headquarters, a detective asked a man if he realized how many times he’d fatally knifed another man that morning outside the APT Foundation’s methadone clinic on Congress Avenue.
Daniel Streit, now 34, said he couldn’t recall. “Everything’s a blur,” he told the detective. “All I really remember is the beginning and the end.”
“He had about 16 stab wounds,” Det. Christopher Perrone informed him.
“Get the fuck out of here,” Streit said. “Wow, I’m sorry, man.”
“And you don’t have any,” Perrone added.
“I’m not trying to lie to you or anything,” Streit said. “But honestly, everything is so scrambled in my head. I didn’t even know I hit him that many times. I thought five or six, not that many. Is he OK? Is he gonna be OK?”
“He ended up passing away,” Perrone said.
That interrogation took place after a man named Keith Wylie was stabbed to death outside a Congress Avenue methadone clinic last fall.
Jurors watched a video recording of the 90-minute interrogation Wednesday afternoon in New Haven’s Superior Court at 235 Church St., where Streit is now on trial for first-degree manslaughter in connection with the killing.
So far, jurors have heard from the police officers who arrested Streit blocks away near Yale-New Haven Hospital, after he dropped a bloodied sweatshirt and surgical gloves near the scene. They squinted at the tiny figures in surveillance footage from four nearby cameras, shown multiple times in different formats. And they looked at gory autopsy photos of Wylie’s knife wounds, including several that gaped several inches deep into his heart and lungs.
The potentially most devastating evidence against Streit presented on Wednesday was his own words to police, recorded just 12 hours after Wylie had bled out in front of the APT Foundation. (Click here to read more about how officials first responded to the homicide.)
The video offered a glimpse inside the rooms at 1 Union Ave. where detectives prod suspected murderers to own up to the bodies they’ve left behind. The killing itself brought to broader attention dangerous activity that was occurring regularly in the Hill neighborhood around the APT methadone clinic.
In October 2017, Streit started dating a 36-year-old West Haven resident who received treatment for opioid use disorder at the APT Foundation. She claimed Wylie, her 51-year-old ex-boyfriend, had mistreated her, stalking her since their breakup three weeks prior in violation of a protective order.
A few days before the homicide, Streit and Wylie got into a fist fight at the APT Foundation. Wylie knocked Streit unconscious.
The men confronted each other again on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.
This time, Streit was wearing a knife in a black sheath around his waist. Around 10 that morning, Streit pulled up in front of the APT Foundation, and Wylie arrived in his blue Chrysler 300 down the block.
Streit later told detectives that he pulled out a knife as Wylie walked towards him. Here’s how he remembered the exchange:
“Bro, you got me the other day,” Streit said. “I thought we were fine.”
“No, fuck that, we’re going to finish this now,” Wylie said.
“Yo, back up, I’m armed,” Streit said, as he brandished the five-inch blade.
Streit then told detectives that he stabbed Wylie, first by plunging it into his stomach.
At one point, he said, Wylie managed to grab the blade out of his hand. He said he twisted Wylie’s arm back at him “to poke him a couple times with it.” When the knife flew out of their hands, landing behind the APT Foundation’s fence, Streit said, he fled down the block.
Once in custody, Streit told police, “Maybe he got what he deserved, but I shouldn’t have been the one to have to do that. It could have been anyone else.”
Later that night, at the start of the interrogation, Det. Perrone read Streit his Miranda rights, including his right to have an attorney present. Streit said he “didn’t know if could afford” a lawyer anyway.
“I can stop answering questions at any time?” Streit asked. “I just don’t want to get yelled at no more, man.”
He signed a waiver. Another detective draped a blanket over his shoulders, and he put his head down on the table.
At the top, Streit asked how Wylie was doing. Perrone said they’d get to that later.
Initially, Streit talked up his past run-ins with Wylie. He said he didn’t remember much about the encounter that day. He said he didn’t remember what hat he was wearing. He said he felt like “a robot.”
But after Perrone reminded him that they’d interviewed others at the scene, watched security-camera footage and counted up Wylie’s 16 fatal stab wounds, Streit started spilling out details.
“I did the right thing by my girl. I’m trying to be a good fucking man,” he told them, trying to explain. “I feared for my life.”
“We believe you,” Perrone said. “I wouldn’t let anybody murder me if I could help it.”
“I never loved myself. To find a girl who needed as much love and attention as I did, that saved my life,” Streit said. “This is hard for me. I’ll never get to see my two women after this, and I just saved them. That ain’t right,” Streit went on. “To be honest with you, I’m kinda mad that he died. I didn’t want him to die; I just wanted him to leave me alone.”
“Daniel, you sitting here talking to us today, that’s going to go a long way, so let’s continue. You’re doing good,” Perrone said. He asked later, “You had thought ahead to bring the knife with you, in case you ran into him?”
“I just meant to scare him,” Streit said.
“Do you carry that knife all the time?” Perrone asked. “Or was it because you were afraid you were going to run into him?”
“After that first fight,” Streit answered. “He was not going to catch me later.”
Streit kept apologizing to the officers. “I’m sorry, bro,” he said over and over. “You’ll probably never see me again in this life.”
“You did the right thing by coming here,” Perrone reassured him.
After sitting with cops in the interrogation room for nearly two hours, Streit asked Perrone to stay with him. “I never used a knife before. I was always scared to use them,” he said, unprompted. “Does that seem weird to you?” Perrone didn’t answer.
In a brief cross-examination of Det. Perrone in court Wednesday, Streit’s attorney, Jeffrey LaPierre, pointed out that his client had helped cops at every step. He’d waived his rights and told officers what he’d done, and he let officers swab his cheek and photograph his injuries.
At one point towards the end of his confession, Streit told detectives he didn’t know why they had such a “bad reputation,” even though he said he’d feared cops were going to gun him down hours earlier.
LaPierre also suggested that the cops hadn’t done a thorough investigation. Perrone admitted that he hadn’t interviewed any of the security guards at the APT Foundation, hadn’t pulled security-camera footage from buses driving by the murder that would have shown a closer view, and hadn’t tried to obtain security-camera footage from Streit’s run-ins with Wylie earlier in the month.
Judge Elpedio Vitale sent jurors home late Wednesday afternoon during the cross-examination. The defense will present its own testimony after the prosecution rests its case.