Travis Blake, a New York man accused of killing 3 people in New York City last week, appears via Zoom from the Hancock County Jail during a court hearing Friday in Ellsworth. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A New York man wanted by officials in his home state on suspicion of killing three people declined to waive extradition Friday when he appeared before a judge in a Maine courtroom.

Travis Nashawn Blake, 29, is accused of murdering three people at a home in Queens in New York City whose bodies were found June 24. He was arrested Thursday in Bar Harbor without incident after police got a tip he had traveled to Maine.

Travis Blake’s booking photo from the Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth, Maine.

Justice Charles Budd, the judge presiding Friday in Hancock County Superior Court in Ellsworth set a date of Aug. 11 for an extradition hearing to be held to see if Blake should be returned to New York to faces murder charges.

Charles Helfrich, the lawyer who assisted Blake during the appearance, told Budd that Blake’s rights were violated because he is from Jamaica and police did not tell Blake he had a right to contact the Jamaican consulate, which is a requirement of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

“I believe he should be set free,” Helfrich told the judge. “His constitutional rights have been woefully abridged.”

Budd, saying that he was interpreting Helfrich’s comment as a verbal motion, denied the request.

Blake, who made his appearance remotely from the Hancock County Jail, told Budd in a soft-spoken voice that he had come to Maine to celebrate his birthday, which was on Monday.

In response to a question from Blake about waiving extradition, the judge told Blake that if he declined to waive extradition, a hearing would be set and New York law enforcement officials would have to come to Maine to show that he indeed is the same Travis Blake that they suspect of murder.

“The question would be whether you’re the person they’re looking for,” the judge told Blake.

Blake came to the attention of police in Bar Harbor on Thursday after a woman who lives at an Eden Street employee housing complex contacted them. She said that Blake, who she described as her boyfriend, was wanted for murder, according to a Bar Harbor police summary report on the incident.

She said he had arrived in Bar Harbor June 24, the same day the grisly killings were discovered in New York.

On Thursday, she and a friend were online when they saw news reports that Blake was a suspect in the deaths. Blake had left the housing complex that morning and was believed to be walking around downtown.

Police found him sitting on a patio outside a local business and followed him as he boarded an Island Explorer bus. When Blake got off the bus a few blocks north on Eden Street, near the Edenbrook Motel, they closed in and grabbed him “with no issues,” Bar Harbor police wrote in the report.

According to court documents filed in New York, the bodies of Varshana Malcolm, 22; Karleen Barnett, 55; and Dervon Brightly, 35, were found June 24 by a relative who lived with them on 155th Street in Jamaica, Queens in New York City. The relative told police Blake was dating Barnett and also was living with them. Brightly was Barnett’s son and Malcolm was Barnett’s niece, according to court documents.

Police who responded found Malcolm, who was wearing only a shirt, on a bed on the second floor of the house with her hands bound and her mouth duct-taped. She had apparent stab wounds to her chest.

Barnett, who was found lying on the floor of a bedroom in the basement, appeared to have head wounds and to have been stabbed. Brightly was found in the basement living room, also with head injuries and apparent stab wounds. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Also found in the house were a screwdriver and a piece of wood with a protruding nail, both of which appeared to have blood on them, and cleaning implements and containers that had blood on them, according to New York police.

New York police identified Blake as a suspect when they found recorded video surveillance footage that showed him leaving the house at 1:22 a.m. on June 24. The Queens County medical examiner later told police the victims appeared to have been dead for two days before they were discovered later that same day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....