David Laffer, the alleged Medford drug store murderer of four, is reportedly under suicide watch Friday morning after a Suffolk County judge ordered Laffer held without bail during his arraignment on first-degree murder charges yesterday. Laffer pleaded not guilty to the gruesome Father’s Day crime.
Laffer, 33, had two black eyes and cuts on his face at the arraignment after he resisted police arrest Wednesday. He and wife Melinda Brady, 29, were arrested and charged with the Sunday robbery of Haven Drugs in Medford and the killings of two pharmacy employees and two customers.
Brady’s arraignment has been temporarily postponed because she is currently being treated at a hospital for a health problem that has not been made public. Brady is charged with robbery and obstructing governmental administration, but a prosecutor said on Thursday that those charges would likely be upgraded.
Police say both Laffer and Brady were high at the time of their arrest. Their murderous spree was captured on surveillance video. Laffer killed the four victims, while Brady waited out front in the car.
“He did not announce a robbery,” Assistant District Attorney John Collins said at the arraignment. “He simply shot first after engaging the pharmacist in conversation.”
The pharmacist, Raymond Ferguson, 45, of Centereach, was shot once in the stomach. Prosecutors say Laffer then aimed his .45-caliber handgun and shot 17-year-old store clerk Jennifer Mejia, killing her. Laffer, the prosecutor said, then fired two more fatal shots at the pharmacist before two customers, 71-year-old Bryon Sheffield and 33-year-old Jamie Taccetta, walked into Haven Drugs without a clue about what was happening.
“He came up behind them and simply executed them by shooting them in the back of the head,” Collins said.
Seven bullets were fired and four people were killed.
The prosecutor said Laffer left with a backpack full of painkillers “of the hydrocodone family,” and fled with his wife back to their home about a mile and a half away. He left behind fingerprints, Collins said, one of several keys in his eventual capture.
A print was matched to those on file in the Suffolk County Police Department from a pistol license permit Laffer had obtained several years ago, authorities said. Police also found other weapons and ammunition during a search of Laffer’s home.
Laffer reportedly worked at a Yaphank warehouse, although his wife told reporters he was currently unemployed. A spokesman for the company where Laffer had worked did not immediately comment.
Police Commissioner Richard Dormer was at a loss to explain the actions of a suspect who had no criminal record or history of violence.
“It is very difficult to comprehend this,” he said. “To suddenly engage in this type of violent behavior is beyond understanding. It doesn’t make sense. I don’t have the answer. Nobody has the answer.”