Crown Heights Man Indicted for Murder of Wife

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Crown Heights Man Indicted for Murder of Wife

Cause of Death Determined to be Asphyxiation, Including Compression of the Neck

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 29-year-old man from Crown Heights, Brooklyn has been arraigned on an indictment charging him with the murder of his 22-year-old wife, whom he allegedly asphyxiated. Her body was found in the basement of the brownstone where he lived. The defendant was later apprehended in New Rochelle, New York, where he fled after the murder.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly killed the woman he purportedly loved. It is critical that we do all we can to combat domestic violence which in this instance escalated, led to a senseless death and left this young mother’s family and friends to struggle with such a tragic loss.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Barry Wells, 29, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated criminal contempt, first-degree criminal contempt and aggravated family offense. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on March 14, 2018. The defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on December 27, 2017 at about 8:30 a.m., at 1172 Sterling Place in Crown Heights, the defendant and his wife, Tonie Wells, got into an argument inside the first-floor apartment in the building. During the argument, her 21-month-old daughter was locked out of the apartment and crying in the hall. A neighbor came and got the baby. After the arguing stopped, the neighbor checked on Tonie Wells and found her unconscious in the basement. She was later pronounced dead at the scene. There was an active order of protection against the defendant in effect at the time she was killed.

The defendant was arrested in New Rochelle, N.Y., later that day and charged with aggravated family offense and criminal contempt. Following an autopsy, the cause of death was determined to be by asphyxiation, including compression of the neck.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni, of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kaminsky, Bureau Chief.


An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.