Two Old Friends Reunite, Then a Murder, Prosecutors say The New York Times Michael Stewart, known as Mikey, spent the twilight hours of Dec. 20 celebrating the holidays at an Irish pub on Staten Island. After leaving, he spotted an old friend from high school, Angelo Nesimi, in a nearby barbershop, and walked inside. In security camera footage from that evening, Mr. Stewart appeared raucously happy — maybe thrilled about seeing his old friend, maybe just a touch tipsy from his previous stop, maybe both. He slapped Mr. Nesimis hand and pulled him into a bear hug. It looked like a normal reunion between two old friends, except for one significant twist: The next day, prosecutors say, Mr. Stewart was dead and Mr. Nesimi was furiously trying to clean up the crime scene. Prosecutors in Staten Island on Monday afternoon charged Mr. Nesimi, 33, with the murder of Mr. Stewart and the subsequent attempts to hide his killing, including dumping the body and gutting his own apartment to get rid of evidence. Prosecutors said the evidence would show Mr. Nesimi stabbed and killed his friend inside the apartment, at 86 Mada Avenue in the West Brighton neighborhood. A part owner of the building, William Formica, 58, was charged with helping to strip the apartment and dump the debris. It was a sudden, if long expected, finale to the five week hunt for Mr. Stewart, who vanished in the early hours of Dec. 21 after sending a late night text to his mother. In recent days, the police identified Mr. Nesimi as a person of interest in the disappearance, which had gradually shifted from a missing person case to a presumed homicide. Still, the case is missing two critical components: a body and a motive. The search for Mr. Stewarts body has taken investigators all over the tristate area, from New Jersey dumpsters to . Still, his body has not been found, making the case highly unusual. Prosecutors rarely bring murder charges without a body. Such cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute. Key to the case were statements from Mr. Nesimis ex girlfriend, who purportedly told prosecutors that her ex boyfriend was to blame, defense lawyers said. These are just the musings of a jilted lover, said Mario Gallucci, Mr. Nesimis lawyer. Theyre basing their whole case on statements of a girlfriend that he had broken up with. Family members of Mr. Stewart, who was a father of two, filled a courtroom on Staten Island Monday as the two men were formally charged. Mr. Stewarts mother, appearing ashen, declined to comment as she left the courtroom. He was a good father, a good person, Stephanie Garcia, the mother of Mr. Stewarts daughter, said. The girl was crying for her father daily, she added. How prosecutors think the night of Dec. 20 devolved from a friendly barbershop reunion to a bloody stabbing at Mr. Nesimis apartment remains unclear. In a statement, Staten Island district attorney Michael E. McMahon called Mr. Stewarts murder senseless and tragic, but prosecutors offered no motive. Mr. Nesimi was charged with second degree murder. Mr. Nesimi has been arrested 14 times since 2001 on charges ranging from assaults to drugs and weapons possession, a law enforcement official said. He was arrested in December on a weapons charge related to an assault against his then girlfriend, the same woman who is now speaking with prosecutors in the murder case. Police officials declined to discuss the investigation, saying they did not want to jeopardize leads they had developed. According to court filings, Mr. Nesimi spent the week after the murder razing his apartment. He enlisted his landlord, Mr. Formica, to raze the apartments refrigerator, carpet, flooring, moldings, sinks, mirrors and towels. The items were dumped at a site owned by Mr. Formica, where his construction company operated. Prosecutors said lab tests would show that Mr. Stewarts DNA was present on the debris and on the lining of a truck bed, which the two men had also tried to throw away. The vehicle was later washed and detailed, prosecutors said. Mr. Formica maintains he had no idea he was covering up a murder, his lawyer, Matthew Santamauro, said. He has no knowledge that anything even occurred in that apartment, Mr. Santamauro said. Mr. Nesimi, who was already in custody on charges related to the assault on his former girlfriend, was ordered held without bail awaiting trial on the murder charge. A judge set bail for Mr. Formica at dollar 75,000. Along with charges related to Mr. Stewarts murder, both men were also charged with cocaine possession. Christopher Slow, a cousin of Mr. Stewart, said his family was reeling from Mondays developments. We want to heal right now, he said. Put yourself in our shoes. I cant describe it.