Danueal Drayton was arrested in California on July 24 for attempted kidnapping and sexual assault. He allegedly used dating apps to meet women he later inflicted violence upon, and stands accused of killing one of those women.
One of the women Drayton met on an app, New Yorker Zynea Barney, has spoken out about her experience dating the man.
Barney told ABC News she began talking to Drayton in November 2017 after he messaged her for "two days straight."
She ignored him at first, but as they got to talking, Barney said Drayton seemed like a “dream guy.”
After three weeks of chatting, the pair found themselves talking daily.
"We would talk all night, all day, regular conversation," Barney said. "No red flags, nothing. Just you know — the perfect guy."
The 27-year-old said Drayton “carried himself very well in conversation” and “showed he was very interested in” her life. She now believes he was “pretending to have similarities" with her in order to keep their conversations going.
The former couple's first date was a movie night in a hotel where they slept in separate beds. After that, they saw each other every day.
Barney said she felt the relationship was “going forward in a positive direction" until another woman called Drayton’s phone while they were riding around in Barney’s car.
Barney answered the phone, and spoke to the woman briefly. The woman told Barney she and Drayton were “just friends,” but Barney said she was unaware he had a girlfriend.
Upset that he'd been talking to other women, Barney put Drayton out of her car and drove off. After that, the relationship became volatile.
She says Drayton would show up and sleep outside of her house and beg her to take him back. After she kept rejecting him, he took her landlord’s ladder and climbed into her window. Her young son was in the room at the time.
"That's when I knew, like, he has to go,” she recalled.
Barney says they met up one last time after he blew up her phone for a few hours. After she told him there was no chance of reconciliation, Drayton attacked her.
“He choked me,” Barney told WLNY. “I still have the mark here to this date from him sticking his finger so far down my throat.”
Barney said Drayton also threatened to kill her, and that Drayton stopped attacking her only after onlookers ran over to check on her. He was arrested, but Barney declined to press charges. Still, the threatening behavior continued.
Neighbors claim he slashed Barney's tires and broke into her home, prompting several 911 calls.
“They’d been to our house plenty of times,” Ilana Holden, Barney’s neighbor, said. “It’s scary to deal with, the cops and stuff like that. It’s just out of control.”
Barney narrowly avoided the fate of Samantha Stewart, the New York woman Drayton is accused of killing. He is also facing several charges in California, including attempted murder, forcible rape, false imprisonment by violence and sexual penetration by foreign object. He allegedly held a Los Angeles woman hostage for two days during which he strangled and sexually assaulted her.
He has admitted to killing seven people in total, but investigators have not found any evidence to substantiate that claim. In an interview with New York Daily News, Drayton attributed his crimes to mental illness, blaming voices in his head.
“It’s mind control,” he said. “They use direct-energy weapons on me to control my mind.”
Drayton is being held in the Twin Towers men’s jail in Los Angeles and is currently awaiting extradition to New York.
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