Artist Charged With Stabbing Roommate to Death in New York

They were both recent Bard graduates.

1861 Stanhope Street. Courtesy Google Maps.
1861 Stanhope Street. Courtesy Google Maps.

In a horrific incident in Queens, New York, 26-year-old graphic artist Render Stetson-Shanahan reportedly stabbed his roommate on Wednesday evening in their apartment on 1861 Stanhope Street off Onderdonk Avenue. On Thursday, he was charged with the murder of 25-year-old Carolyn Bush.

“She’s a beautiful girl inside and out,” Maria Navarino, Bush’s landlord told the New York Post, which first had the story. “She didn’t deserve to die like this.”

Neighbor Joshua Cruz reportedly saw Stetson-Shanahan after the crime. “He was on the phone with his brother saying, ‘I’m not going to have a lease anymore,” Cruz told the NY Daily News. “He asked me my name and tried to lunge at me with the knife. I just seen blood on him.”

Cruz subsequently sought safety and called the police. After watching Stetson-Shanahan shatter two windows of a nearby car, Cruz said he returned to his apartment and waited for authorities to arrive on the scene.

Render Stetson-Shanahan. Courtesy YouTube.

Render Stetson-Shanahan. Courtesy YouTube.

Bush and Stetson-Shanahan both studied at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The building’s superintendent, Pat Castellar, told the New York Daily News that Bush had been supporting herself as a waitress and librarian since moving into the apartment three years prior.

“She was studying at the New School towards a degree in Literary Theory, and had a wide range of interests from esoteric philosophy to mystic rituals,” Bush’s friend, Masha Mitkov, described in a Go Fund Me campaign. “Carolyn co-founded of the non-profit library and writing space Wendy’s Subway. It is a collaborative space that holds readings, research, screenings, discussions, writing workshops and free courses. The money raised in this campaign will go to her family to offset the unexpected costs of such a tragedy. ”

According to his LinkedIn account, Stetson-Shanahan worked as a crate shop technician at Atelier 4 Inc. to support his practice as a self-described “artist, illustrator, and signmaker.” His thesis at Bard concentrated on the Golden Age of the whaling industry, and is titled, “Burning the Fat from Their Souls: An Illustrated History of the Early American Whaling Industry on Nantucket Island and in The Eastern Colonies, 1640–1775.”

Stetson-Shanahan faces up to 25 years in prison, according to DNAinfo.

“This is a disturbing case that ended with the death of a young, innocent woman,” said District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement.  “The defendant now faces a lengthy prison term if convicted of this senseless crime.”

artnet News contacted the New York City Police Department’s 104th Precinct for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.


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