“Be honest… Do you always lock your hotel-room deadbolt?” asks USA Today. The question gains relevance from the current trial of Derrick Praileau, a housekeeper at the Essex House on Central Park, who is accused of trying to rape, and successfully murdering, a resident, 44-year-old Andree (Sara) Bejjani, in September after breaking into her room. Bejjani was president of the UAR investment firm Royal Investments.
Yesterday Praileau’s alleged confession was released, in which he owned to entering Bejjani’s room while she was asleep and, when she awoke in terror, putting a pillow over her face, but claimed to be unsure as to whether he cut her throat. “I have to stop drinking,” he said, “because when I am drunk, I want what I can’t have, and I just take it.”
Nonetheless Praileau, 29, has pleaded not guilty to charges, on which he faces life in prison.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 22, 2009