Things That Matter

A 51-Year-Old Wife and Mother Was Stabbed Over 55 Times by Former Handyman Lover

In devastating news, 51-year-old New York City wife and mother Orsolya Gaal was brutally stabbed to death — and her handyman, David Bonola, 44, was just arrested in connection to the case. 

The NYPD announced Thursday morning that Bonola has been officially charged with murder, criminal tampering in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. Even more, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig revealed that Gaal and Bonola had an “off-and-on” relationship for two years while he was employed by the family.

The tragedy is shocking, especially for anyone who lived near Gaal in her Forest Hills, Queens neighborhood. Still, as soon as police arrived on the scene, they were quick to note that this wasn’t a random break-in — Gaal clearly knew her murderer. There were no signs of forced entry, and the sheer “ferocity” of the attack meant that the killing came from a place of intense rage. 

So what happened? While Gaal’s 53-year-old husband Howard Klein and her 17-year-old son were in Oregon visiting colleges, the 51-year-old mother stayed behind in Queens with her 13-year-old son. The woman went out on Friday night, attending a show at Lincoln Center with female friends, and then going for a drink at the Forest Hills Station House, where she was a regular. The manager of the restaurant Gabe Veras told CBS New York, “Orsolya was here on Friday around 11:45 to 12:30 [A.M.]. She came in alone, she left alone. She had her usual — a Moscow mule.”

Veras also said that Gaal was as happy as can be while at the restaurant: “She had come back from a concert, seeing her favorite composer… She was delighted at that. She was elated that she saw this composer live. She was very into the arts and music.” 

Gaal left the restaurant and went back home, where the tragedy occurred. Although Gaal and Bonola had been “on and off” for two years, and had briefly reunited early April, the two were not together anymore. Still, police believe that Bonola entered Gaal’s Queens home at around 12:30 to 12:40 A.M., either let in by Gaal or using a key hidden inside a barbecue. At that point, the two began to argue, with Chief of Detectives Essig explaining that Bonola used a kitchen knife found in the home to stab his former lover “ruthlessly and brutally in excess of 55 times” in the basement.

Essig described how the two seemed to have had “an intimate affair,” while Chief Julie Morrill explained that Bonola had gone to the house “to speak about the relationship again.” All of this occurred while Gaal’s 13-year-old son was upstairs sleeping, unaware of what was happening below. The son was questioned in the case, but released, with police believing he did not wake up before Bonola left the house.

At that point, Bonola allegedly attempted to hide the body. He stuffed Gaal into her son’s hockey duffel bag, with surveillance tapes showing him rolling that same bag down the sidewalk. The body left a “blood trail” all the way from her home to Forest Park, where Bonola dumped it. He tried to flee through the park, where police found a jacket they believe he wore at the time of the murder. 

After discarding the body, the handyman went to a CityMD to treat wounds in his hands. Doctors then sent him to Bellevue Hospital because the cuts were too deep — police believe this is due to Gaal giving a “violent struggle” to survive. Police also believe this attack was not premeditated, and that Bonola panicked afterwards.

Bonola was spotted near the crime scene on Wednesday evening and taken back to the precinct for questioning by police. Essig explains he made “incriminating statements” and admitted to sending texts from Gaal’s phone to her husband, writing, “Your whole family is next.”

While Bonola has been charged, more information is coming to light about their possible relationship — and it’s all through Facebook. As reported by the New York Post, the handyman left Gaal several Facebook comments on her photos, such as “Hola” with a heart emoji on a picture of her as a child, or “Tu mirada enamorada” (“Your loving gaze”) with another heart emoji on a selfie she posted. That said, the two appear to not be “friends” on Facebook, at least as of this week.

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