A high-risk Hudson Valley sex offender murdered an emergency housing employee in Newburgh.

On Friday, 52-year-old Wilfredo Mercado of Newburgh pleaded guilty in Orange County Cort to murder, in connection with the violent stabbing death of 61-year-old Robert Munson inside a temporary emergency housing facility in the City of Newburgh.

Munson was found murdered inside 44 Grand Street early in May 2017. The building was once home to a popular Newburgh bar, Pineapple Larry’s.

The building is now operated by Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. Which offers transitional life skills training to homeless men, including some formally incarcerated people.

Munson was a YAP advocate since 2014 and worked the overnight shift, police say

Following a massive search, Mercado, a Level-3 sex offender, was arrested. Hours before his arrest, police notified the public to be on the lookout for Mercado, calling him, “extremely dangerous.”

Mercado admitted he repeatedly stabbed Munson in the torso. Prosecutors had argued that that in addition to stabbing the victim, Mercado repeatedly bludgeoned him and strangled the victim with his own belt, officials say.

As part of his plea deal, Mercado faces up to 21 years to life in prison when sentenced in Jan.

“This was a particularly violent murder of a man who worked to help those who required assistance,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said in a press release. “Those who kill by committing senseless violent acts deserve lengthy prison sentences, whether or not they used a firearm."

According to the New York State Sex Offender’s Database, Mercado raped a 25-year-old woman in Orange County in 1991. He was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to four to nine years in prison.

Level-3 sex offenders are considered to have the highest risk of a repeat offense and are considered the greatest risk to the public.

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