Suspect in Stabbings of Staten Island Family Pleads Not Guilty

A man accused of fatally stabbing his girlfriend and two of her children at a Staten Island hotel pleaded not guilty Sunday to charges including murder, attempted murder and assault, authorities said.

Michael Sykes was returned to Rikers Island in custody after his arraignment Sunday, the day after a four-day manhunt by U.S. Marshals and the NYPD culminated with his capture, the Richmond County District Attorney's Office said.

Aside from the not-guilty plea, no further statement was released on his behalf. Sykes was assigned a public attorney, but it wasn't immediately clear who that was.

Sykes was nabbed Saturday while ringing the doorbell at a friend's residence on 31st Street in the Woodside neighborhood. The friend had called 911 to summon police.

Federal agents had joined NYPD officers in canvassing New York City's five boroughs for Sykes, who was suspected of fatally stabbing Rebecca Cutler, 28, the couple's 4-month-old daughter, Maiyah Sykes, and her 1-year-old half-sister, Ziana Cutler, on Wednesday at a Ramada Inn on Staten Island.

Sykes is also accused of stabbing 2-year-old Miracle Cutler, who was rushed into surgery after the stabbing and has been in critical but stable condition.

Wanted posters for Sykes blanketed the Howard Houses in Brooklyn where he lived with his parents and younger brother, while detectives, patrol officers and federal authorities looked for signs of him.

Sykes was seen with Cutler and his family before the stabbings, going to breakfast with them and buying soda and Pop Tarts, investigators said. He was seen on surveillance footage entering their hotel room, then leaving four minutes later. He got on a bus, and got off at the St. George Ferry Terminal. He wasn't caught on camera again, but is thought to have taken the Staten Island Ferry back to Manhattan.

Authorities said he called his mother after the attack, confessed to the crime and talked about committing suicide.

Cutler and her family had been living at the hotel since December and had been in and out of the shelter system since 2014. The first time she entered the system, the woman had claimed to be the victim of domestic violence with someone other than Sykes; she later recanted those claims.

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