SOHO, Manhattan — The gruesome, brutal rape and murder of a criminal justice student was a case that captivated New York City and one that also lead to changes within the hiring process at bars and clubs.
It was a headline grabbing murder of John Jay College of Criminal Justice student Imette St. Guillen sent a shockwave across New York’s vibrant nightlife scene.
She was learning to catch killers when she became the victim of one.
On Feb. 25, 2006, St. Guillen went out bar hopping with her best friend from high school. She split off that night and went to the Falls Bar in SoHo, and was never to be seen again.
Inside that bar she encountered bouncer Darryl Littlejohn — an ex-con who’d been violating his parole by working at the bar.
St. Guillen was last seen alive with Littlejohn leaving the bar through a side door at closing time.
Prosecutors laid out a case, proving Littlejohn raped and then strangled the grad student. An autopsy showed he even tried to rip out her tongue out.
Prosecutors were able to link Littlejohn to the murder based on forensic and scientific evidence
Blood and skin matching his DNA found on plastic ties binding her wrists. His mother’s DNA was found on the blanket St. Guillen was wrapped in.
Littlejohn was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 2009.
St. Guillen’s legacy, though, lives on. The case lead to major changes in state and city law.
Bars are now required to do background checks on all of their employees — clubs who hire felons can be shut down.
All clubs and bars are required to have security cameras at their entrances.