MINEOLA, N.Y. – An Afghan filmmaker was fatally stabbed, beaten and then dismembered by one of his investors who briefly kept the head in his refrigerator, police said Saturday.
Jawed Wassel, 42, was killed shortly before Wednesday night's opening of his film FireDancer, said Lt. Frank Guidice, head of the Nassau County homicide squad.
The suspect, Nathan Powell, attended the premiere. He was arrested Thursday night and was arraigned Saturday on a second-degree murder charge.
Police say Powell was supposed to receive 30 percent of the movie's gross and allegedly killed Wassel in an argument over money.
Wassel was smuggled out of Afghanistan by his mother after the Soviet invasion of 1979, living in Pakistan, Germany and France before coming to New York. He spent six years working on FireDancer, his autobiographical story of an Afghan youth who eventually leaves his village and settles in New York.
Powell, 38, was one of the movie's primary producers and financiers.
Police said Wassel and Powell argued at the suspect's New York apartment Wednesday over how much Powell should receive from the film. The argument turned violent, with Powell smashing Wassel in the throat with a pool cue.
Powell then stabbed his victim before dismembering Wassel with a hacksaw and putting the body parts into two boxes, Guidice said. Police said he placed Wassel's head in the refrigerator of his home.
A day after the slaying, Powell loaded the boxes into a van and drove to Bethpage State Park on Long Island, Guidice said.
Police Officer Peter McGinn spotted the van driving erratically with its lights off and pulled it over. Inside, he said he saw a shovel, a pickax and one of the bloody boxes.
"I knew I wasn't dealing with somebody going home from work," McGinn said Saturday.
Wow. Hearing this story made me reminisce about my favorite movie dismemberment moments. Let's take a trip down memory lane.
Lord of the Flies (1963)
Jack and the gang impale a pig head on a stick
The Godfather (1972)
Vito Corleone arranges a meeting between a horse head and a Hollywood producer's bed
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Colonel Kurtz sanctions the decapitation of a surfer dude and a bull
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Darth Vader severs his son's hand with a light saber
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
a high priest pulls the heart out of his victim and then lowers the still-living body into molten lava
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1988)
Angela, the girl who's a boy, buries a female counselor up to her neck in the ground and uses a lawnmower to well…you know
Kevin Spacey sends himself Gwenyth Paltrow's head in a box
Sex, Blood and Mutilation (1995)
meet a man who voluntarily had his penis removed
a housewife gets fed to a wood-chipper
8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997)
the name says it all
Very Bad Things (1998)
a coupla wild and crazy Jews chop the bodies of a dead hooker and security guard into several convenient-to-bury-in-the-desert pieces
okay, it's not exactly dismemberment, but sawing the top off Ray Liotta's skull and slicing bits of his brain to cook and eat WHILE he's conscious is pretty fuckin' cool if you ask me