New York police found Hines, 33, early Sunday morning lying in the street outside her apartment in Manhattan’s Washington Heights with some 16 stab wounds to her chest, police said. A man, described by police as her boyfriend, an aspiring rapper, was standing over her body shouting Bible verses and exorcism incantations. He was taken into custody and transported by ambulance to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for a psychological evaluation.
Hines was transported to Harlem Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
“The world will never know her artistry and talent, and how much she had to offer,” Freeman said in a statement. “Her friends and family were fortunate enough to have known what she meant as a person. Her star will continue to shine bright in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. May she rest in peace.”
Police said Monday morning Lamar Davenport, 30, who was still in the hospital, is charged with second-degree murder. He is expected to be arraigned later in the day, New York police Officer Chris Pisano told The Washington Post.
One witness said it appeared he was trying to perform an exorcism.
“I heard the him say something like ‘Devil, be gone, Jesus and God,”‘ George Hudacko, who said he heard the commotion from his apartment, told CBS News. “I said, ‘Uh oh.”‘
Another witness Patrick Curry told the station he saw the stabbing. “He was kneeling over her and screaming about ‘God has arisen,”‘ he said. “He was totally off the ranch.”
Hines, Freeman’s granddaughter by marriage who is also an actor, recently returned to New York from Memphis to film an independent movie called “Landing Up,” which was shot in Brooklyn. “My dream has come true and its just beginning,” she wrote on her blog in July. “Life can make you want to give up or walk away; sometimes it gives you the strength to appreciate when you do get your happy ending.”
“We’re just in shock, we’re in total grief,” Stacey Maltin, 30, an actress and screenwriter who wrote the script, told Newsday. “We really just can’t believe that anyone would want to do this to her, that she was taken from the world in this way.”
“She’s so talented, so genuine, and in the moment, raw,” she added. “She just gave everything when she was on set. She was never half there, she was always all there.”
Last year, Hines played a receptionist in Freeman’s film “5 Flights Up.” She has appeared in other small roles, including parts in the TV show “A Minority Report” and in the ABC hidden-camera show “What Would You Do?”
“I want to acknowledge the tremendous outpouring of love and support my family has received regarding the tragic and senseless passing of my granddaughter Edena Hines,” Freeman wrote Sunday night on his Facebook page. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
The stabbing is still under investigation.