Drayton was traced to a Los Angeles hotel room last week by a regional fugitive task force when he used Stewart’s credit card to buy a one way ticket to California. Police found him with a woman he’d allegedly raped and was holding captive — he’d met her when they shared an UberPool. On Monday Drayton pleaded not guilty to those charges which include attempted murder, forcible rape, and false imprisonment by violence.
He also told law enforcement that he’s killed at least six other women. He is being investigated in the Los Angeles case, Stewart’s murder, and the rape and strangulation of a woman he’d met on Tinder earlier this month in Brooklyn. Dermot Shea, the Chief of Detectives, has asked any other potential victims to come forward.
Zynea Barney, who met Drayton on the dating site, Plenty of Fish and dated him for about six months, reported that he tried to strangle her in her car in Inwood Park on June 30. She’d been trying to end their relationship since April. Barney spoke with the New York ABC affiliate Channel 7 saying that Drayton choked her and said, “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you.”
Three days later, Drayton sent Barney a threatening message on Facebook telling her he would cut her brake line and set her car on fire. Barney then witnessed him slashing her tires.
He was charged with strangulation and criminal mischief but was released from custody on July 5 by a Nassau County judge against prosecutor’s objections. Stewart’s body was discovered in her apartment by her brother on July 17.
The alleged killer and rapist spoke with the New York Daily News Wednesday from a Los Angeles jail telling them he suffers from schizophrenia and Bipolar II disorder. He said he remembered murdering Stewart after a date where the two shared an artichoke pizza but that voices in his head told him, “she had to die.” Drayton went on to claim that the voices, “... use direct-energy weapons on me to control my mind.”
Barney disputed his claims of insanity telling the Daily News that, "He said he was used to doing this. He would plead insanity so he could get off the case. He would play crazy.”
Refinery29 reached out to Tinder for a statement regarding their platform’s alleged role in the murder and rapes. Through a spokesperson they said, “These heinous acts of violence are heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the victims’ families and loved ones and we will continue to offer any assistance we can to law enforcement with its ongoing investigation.”
A source close to Tinder could not confirm whether the dating platform is in direct contact with investigators.
Drayton is currently being held in Los Angeles on $1.25 million bail.
Samantha Stewart was buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery on Monday. Margaret Foster, Stewart’s best friend had a warning for other woman that, “[Stewart] just trusted someone who had bad intentions, and now she’ll never be able to recover from it. But this isn’t the last person that this will happen to.”