Police say they have nabbed the Park Slope man who robbed and murdered the beloved owner of a Windsor Terrace dry cleaners — but residents of the peaceful parkside neighborhood are furious that the alleged killer was even on the streets after having violated his parole.
Cops charged 14th Street resident Jamal Winter, 22, with the May 15 killing of Kyung-Sook Woo, who ran the Eden Dry Cleaners on the corner of 10th Avenue and Windsor Place.
Witnesses say that Winter staked out the shop on the day of the attack, prompting Woo — a 52-year-old Queens resident who went by the name Linda — to tell friends she was nervous.
But cops, apparently, were unaware of Woo’s concerns.
Police say that Winter fatally strangled Woo in a rear bathroom between 4:38 pm — when a witness spotted Winter with Woo inside the shop — and 7:05 pm — when Winter told a passerby that Woo had left and that the establishment was closed.
Ten minutes later, a witness told police she saw Winter lowering the security gate and driving off in Woo’s 2008 Honda Accord.
A concerned customer found Woo’s body the next morning and called cops, who say they were able to track down Winter by lifting his fingerprints from a bottle he left in the store.
On Sunday, police nabbed Winter — who still had the key to Woo’s car, cops said — in his apartment, which is between Fifth and Sixth.
But neighbors can’t figure out why Winter wasn’t behind bars on the night of the crime.
Winter was on parole after serving five years for armed robbery, but last June, according to the Daily News, he was arrested for an armed robbery on 16th Street — which should have triggered an automatic parole violation.
But a judge let him off on a technicality — and he subsequently posted bail and was on the street when he killed Woo, cops said.
“It’s ridiculous that a mistake like this can lead to the death of someone in the community,” said Windsor Terrace resident Damian Esteban. “It’s indicative of greater problems in the legal system — a lot of people slip through the cracks.”
Even though cops arrested a suspect, the neighborhood remains on edge after the violent crime on the quiet avenue.
“It’s great that they caught the guy — that makes me feel at least a little protected, but I’m still concerned,” said Noah Webb, 51. “I’d rather that kind of stuff not happen here in the first place.”
Windsor Terrace resident Rachel Regalos, 34, is equally shaken.
“I get worried seeing that kind of thing happen in the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s hard to feel safe when people are getting attacked right down the street from you.”
Customers and friends were scheduled to gather at the store — where bouquets of flowers and handwritten notes line the sidewalk and security gate — on Thursday night to pay respect to Woo.
Inside, hundreds of garments, still wrapped in plastic, hang like silent reminders of the neighborhood’s loss.
— with Emily Lavin