updated 3/9/2009 9:45:50 PM ET 2009-03-10T01:45:50

An intruder fatally stabbed the wife of a State Department diplomat who was visiting a friend in an exclusive eastern Long Island neighborhood, police said Monday.

A 22-year-old man known to police from a prior burglary arrest in the area is charged in the slaying.

Robert Schiavo of Medford was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Nancy McKinley. His court-appointed attorney declined to comment on the allegations.

McKinley, 61, is the wife of Brunson McKinley, a longtime State Department official who served as a U.S. ambassador to Haiti and was the U.S. humanitarian coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1995-1998. He is currently co-chairman of the Geneva-based Association for International Mobility.

Homicide detectives said Nancy McKinley was on a weekend visit with a friend in Bellport when Schiavo broke into the home on Leisurely Lane at about 1 a.m. Sunday. Bellport is a quaint, tree-lined village on Long Island's south shore, about 65 miles east of Manhattan.

Prior burglary arrest
Schiavo, who gave a statement to police after his arrest, went to the second floor of the house, where he found the homeowner asleep, said Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk County homicide squad.

When Schiavo returned downstairs, he spotted a light on in McKinley's bedroom, but noticed it then went off. He went to the kitchen, where he retrieved an 8-inch knife, and then went to McKinley's room, where he stabbed her numerous times, Fitzpatrick said.

Schiavo fled with items taken from the house, authorities said. The homeowner was awakened by moans from the dying woman and called 911. McKinley was pronounced dead at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital.

Fitzpatrick said detectives sought Schiavo for questioning because of a prior burglary arrest in the neighborhood in December.

The 22-year-old has no convictions on his record, the detective said.

McKinley retired about 10 years ago from her job as librarian at the National Presbyterian School in Washington, according to The Washington Post.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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