LEONIA — They arrested the wrong man, prosecutors now say.

The boyfriend of a woman stabbed to death has now been charged with her murder, after he had blamed the victim’s ex for the killing.

The man initially charged in the murder has now been released from custody, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced Thursday.

Nile Diakos, 35, of Leonia, told police March 26 that he found 35-year-old Alicia A. Arnone wounded and unresponsive on Saturday morning at the apartment they shared at 147 Grand Ave.

A second eyewitness, Arnone's 13-year-old daughter, gave police a similar story and Andre Daniels, of Lodi, was arrested and charged with murder.

The initial arrest seemed to make sense. The 39-year-old Daniels had been issued a final restraining order last year, which had forbidden him from any contact with Arnone, according to the initial affidavit of probable cause.

Andre Daniels was released after initially being accused of killing his ex (Bergen County sheriff)
Andre Daniels was released after initially being accused of killing his ex (Bergen County sheriff)

As the investigation continued, however, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Leonia Police Department became doubtful of the initial statements.

Then, police received recorded conversations in which Diakos admitted to stabbing Arnone in the neck and chest, before running out of the apartment once he heard the teenager elsewhere in the home, according to Diakos' affidavit of probable cause.

He then doubled back to appear as though he was arriving at the residence at the same time the teen rushed outside, the affidavit said.

The 13-year-old later went back on her initial statement to police, which had implicated Daniels.

Diakos was charged on Wednesday while Daniels was released from custody.

In addition to first-degree murder, Diakos has been charged with third-degree hindering his own apprehension, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.

Arnone’s father and other relatives have been grieving on social media and asking for help supporting her daughter.

Arnone's wake was slated for Thursday afternoon in Fort Lee and a Mass was set for Friday morning at a church in Palisades Park.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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