David Bonola is a 44-year-old New York man charged in the murder of Orsoyla Gaal in Queens. Gaal, a 51-year-old married mother of two, was found dead in a duffel bag on April 16, 2022, the NYPD said. Gaal was stabbed more than 50 times, according to police. Bonola was arrested on April 20, 2022, the NYPD said at a press conference.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell tweeted, “@NYPDDetectives have arrested a 44-year-old man from Queens in regard to the death of Orsolya Gaal. He has been charged with murder, criminal tampering, and criminal possession of a weapon. Anyone with information on crimes in NYC is urged to call @NYPDTipsat #800577TIPS.”
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at an April 21 press conference, “Last night while detectives were canvassing for video they observed a male who was wanted for questioning in an horrendous homicide. He voluntarily came back to the 112th Precinct and made incriminating statements. Today, that male, David Bonola … is being charged with murder in the second degree, criminal tampering in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree in relation to the death of Orsoyla Gaal. This investigation is still preliminary and there is a lot of work to do.”
Bonola lives in Queens and knew Gaal, according to police. Gaal was killed in her home in the Forest Park neighborhood of Queens, police said. Her 13-year-old son was home at the time and was seen being removed from their house in handcuffs, according to the Post. He was briefly detained by police and questioned, but was later released. Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, and their 17-year-old son were in Oregon visiting a college, according to a now-deleted tweet on the father’s Twitter account.
Here’s what you need to know about David Bonola and the murder of Orsoyla Gaal:
1. David Bonola, a Handyman & Orsoyla Gaal’s ‘Off-And-On’ Lover, Confessed to Killing Her During an Argument in the Basement of Her Queens Home, the NYPD Says
David Bonola worked as a handyman and lived near Orsoyla Gaal, the NYPD said at a press conference announcing his arrest. Police also revealed that Bonola had been having an affair with Gaal and confessed to killing her during an interview with detectives after he was taken into custody on April 20. The NYPD officially released information about the murder for the first time after Bonola was taken into custody. Previously, local media outlets had reported several details, some contradictory, citing law enforcement sources.
Lieutenant Timmy Thompson, of the NYPD Queens North homicide squad, said at the press conference, “We believe that the relationship that Mr. Bonola had with the victim was an intimate type of relationship.” He said the killing resulted from a “domestic-type of dispute they were having over their intimate relationship.” Thompson said Bonola, “Has been doing work at that residence for approximately two years on and off.”
Deputy Chief Detective Julie Morell, the Queens investigation chief who led the probe, added, “They had been off-and-on and they had broken up prior, but had reunited early in the month of April. And their relationship was considered at an end.” Police would not comment if Gaal’s husband knew about the affair, but they said the family knew Bonola through his work as a handyman.
2. Orsoyla Gaal Was Found Dead in a Duffel Bag Blocks From Her House by a Man Walking His Dog & Police Followed a Blood Trail Back to Her Home Before Finding Surveillance Video Showing He Being Dragged Down the Street
According to NBC New York, police focused on someone who knew Orsoyla Gaal because they believed she was murdered inside her home and there were no signs of forced entry. Police were examining text messages she had sent and tracking her whereabouts on Friday, April 15, 2022, in the hours before her murder. According to the New York Post, Gaal had been at home Friday afternoon and then went out, including to a bar, where she was alone, before returning to her house.
Essig said that Gaal went to a show at Lincoln Center in Manhattan Friday night and then took the train back to her Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills. She then went to a restaurant about 11:20 p.m. near her home and went back to her house at 12:20 a.m., Essig said. “We also believe Mr. Bonola arrives at her residence between 12:30 and 12:40 a.m.,” Essig said. “Mr. Bonola is a handyman who was employed by Mrs. Gaal. They had been having an intimate affair for approximately two years. He was either let in voluntarily or he uses a key he has knowledge about hidden in the barbecue. A heated argument ensues between the two in the basement. A knife is brandished, a violent struggle ensues, resulting in our victim being stabbed ruthlessly and brutally in excess of 55 times causing her demise.”
Gaal was stabbed in the neck, torso and left arm and had puncture wounds to her trachea and carotid artery, the Post reported. The newspaper added that she had, “knife wounds inside her fingers and on the palms of her hands.”
Essig said a knife was recovered at the crime scene. According to Essig, the hockey bag used to move Gaal’s body belonged to her son. Essig said video showed Bonola, “rolling the body down the sidewalks leaving a bloody trail through the streets of Forest Hills.”
A man walking his dogs found a bloody duffel bag with wheels blocks away from Gaal’s house and police followed a blood trail back to her Juno Street home, where they discovered the crime scene, PIX11 reported. Video from neighbor’s doorbell cameras showed a man rolling the duffel bag down the street, the news station reported. Gaal’s body was found about 8:30 a.m. near the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Metropolitan Avenue, police said.
Essig said, “We believe that after disposing of the body, Mr. Bonola fled through Forest Park, where investigators discovered the jacket believed to be worn by him during this vicious crime. Detectives also developed leads which led them to a location where boots, a T-shirt and bloody bandages where discovered. Investigation also revealed that on Saturday, Mr. Bonola received treatment for wounds to both hands at an area hospital.”
When asked if investigators know why Bonola moved Gaal’s body out of the house in the duffel bag, Morell said, “We believe he just didn’t want it to be found by the family.” Morell added that the knife “is consistent” with knives found in Gaal’s home.
When asked if investigators think Bonola stalked Gaal from the restaurant, Essig said, “We don’t believe she was followed. He had a relationship with her for two years, he knows where she lives, he’s very familiar of the layout of the house, in terms of the duffel bag also.”
3. David Bonola Does Not Appear to Have a Previous Criminal Record; A Facebook Account With the Same Name Posted on Orsoyla Gaal’s Facebook Page in the Past
David Bonola does not appear to have a prior criminal record or history of arrests in New York City, according to the New York Post. Police planned to release more information at a press conference on Thursday, the newspaper added. According to PIX11, Gaal’s killer is believed to have sent threatening text messages to Gaal’s husband, including saying his “whole family is next” and claiming Gaal had put him in jail in the past. Essig said at the press conference, “At this time he has no arrests that we know of.”
About the reports of text messages being sent from Gaal’s phone to her husband, Deputy Chief Morell said, “A message was sent from the victim’s cell phone to the husband. That message was as previously reported that there had been a crime in the past and that person from the same crime in the past was back again. We believe that to be completely false. There was nothing to do with a crime in the past in this case. We have it in the confession that he sent this message. And he has no burglary in his past.” She confirmed Bonola also told Gaal’s husband her family was also in danger, but police do not believe they were actually at risk.
A Facebook page that appears to belong to the suspect left comments on Gaal’s Facebook page more than two years ago. Photos on the Facebook profile match a photo tweeted by NBC New York’s Myles Miller after Bonola’s arrest.
On a May 27, 2020, post by Gaal of a childhood photo, Bonola commented, “Hola💗.” On a May 2020 photo of Gaal captioned “Zoom party with my gfs – my lifeline,” Bonola replied, “🎼Tu mirada enamorada❤️.”
On an October 2019 profile photo posted by Gaal, Bonola wrote, “Hungria ❤️.” Gaal responded with a heart emoji reaction to Bonola’s reply. Bonola commented on a September 2019 photo posted by Gaal, “Guatemala❤️”alguien me dijo que es el lugar que mas ama en este planeta “🎬✍🏼.”
Another Facebook page appearing to belong to Bonola shows he lived in Queens, New York, He lists himself as single and says he studied at the New York School of Interior Design. Bonola lists himself as a New York native on his Facebook page, but police said at the press conference it is believed he was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. about 20 years ago. The NYPD said they were not going to get into his immigration status.
4. Orsoyla Gaal Was Originally From Hungary & Friends Described Her as an ‘Amazing Person’
Orsoyla Gaal was originally from Hungary and studied at the Budapest Business School College of International Management and Business, according to her Facebook page, which is filled with photos with her sons and husband, Howard Klein, on trips and at family events. It was not immediately clear how long she had lived in the United States or how long she had been married to Klein.
A neighbor Theodora Grafas, told the New York Daily News Gaal was, “Just an amazing person and she’s going to be missed by all of us that knew her. She was really just wonderful. … Her kindness to people. She was super friendly. And the way she took care of her kids and her husband. We would do our nails together. Friday morning, when I passed by she waved to me and I waved to her. I was going to do some errands and that was the last time I saw her.”
Gabriel Veras, the manager at the Forest Hills Station House, told NBC New York he saw Gaal at the restaurant hours before she was killed. “She was here on Friday, right in the center of the bar. Had a Moscow mule, had a bite to eat. Spoke to a few of my staff members that know her, joking around in conversation. She was a very, very sweet regular. She left alone and we were in shock the next day. Shock,” Veras told the news station. “She was composed, collected, in the middle of the bar, just keeping to herself and talking to staff. Nothing unusual. She didn’t seem frightened or scared or panicked. Just enjoying her one drink before going home.”
5. David Bonola Remains in Custody & Has Not Yet Made His First Court Appearance
David Bonola remains in police custody and has not yet made his first court appearance. It was not immediately clear if Bonola has hired an attorney, or been appointed one, who could speak on his behalf about his arrest and the case. The district attorney’s office has also not yet commented about the charges against Bonola.
If convicted of second-degree murder, Bonola faces 15 to 25 years in prison, according to New York state law. The first-degree criminal tampering charge is a class D felony that carries a potential sentence of up to 7 years in prison. Fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon is a misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to a year in jail.
Chief Essig said at the press conference, “As I said before, this case is still ongoing. We are still awaiting forensic evidence and are canvassing for more video as we speak. But detectives through interviews, videos and the public’s help, and specifically the Queens DA, Melinda Katz, and her staff, who have been with us every step of the way, were able to quickly take this killer off the street. I just want to ensure the public, and especially the residents of Forest Hills, that there are no outstanding suspects at this time.”
Essig added, “He made incriminating statements. We’re not going to go into what he talked about, this is still an under investigation. But we, working with the Queens district attorney’s office, we have enough to arrest him and charge him with the murder.”