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Suspect in NYC hotel murder, Raad Almansoori , had ‘blank eyes’ as he allegedly choked former Florida coworker, woman says

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A Florida woman was allegedly abducted, sexually assaulted and choked by the man suspected of killing a single mother in a New York City hotel room before he was arrested for stabbing a McDonald’s employee in Arizona this month.

Leah Palian, 26, told The Post Wednesday Raad Almansoori stood over her with “blank eyes” as he allegedly choked her inside her Orlando apartment while reportedly repeating: “I hate that I have to do this. I hate that I have to kill you.”

Palian narrowly escaped the April assault by convincing her alleged captor and then-coworker to pull into a rest stop where she locked herself in a bathroom and dialed 911.

Raad Almansoori is seen in a Feb. 19, 2024, booking mugshot photo. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office

She begged Florida prosecutors to keep Almansoori, 26, behind bars — but instead, he was released on bail despite her warnings that he was capable of killing women.

“I was begging them,” she said. “I was like, ‘Please keep this man off the streets. If you let him go with a slap on the wrist, I guarantee you he will turn into the next Ted Bundy. He got such a rush from doing this. If he gets away with this, it’s going to further this rush and he’s going to become a serial killer.’”

Almansoori is now accused of strangling and beating 38-year-old Queens mom of two, Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, to death with an iron in a SoHo hotel room on Feb. 7. Investigators believe he hired the Ecuador native as an escort and the pair had an argument that led Almansoori to snap.

Palian met the now-accused killer — who introduced himself as Noah, his middle name — through work last year in the kitchen of an upscale Orlando restaurant.

The pair often spend full eight-hour shifts working side by side, she said.

Leah Palian was attacked by Raad Almansoori on April of 2023 in Florida.

She described him as odd with poor social skills. But when she learned that he was biking to and from work after his car broke down, Palian offered him a ride home — which became a routine until the assault.

When he asked if she could give him a ride to pick up his car from the shop in the morning one day, she agreed and let him crash on her couch the night before.

But inside the walls of her home, Almansoori’s behavior flipped, Palian said.

Almansoori is now accused of strangling and beating 38-year-old Queens mom of two, Denisse Oleas-Arancibia, to death with an iron in a SoHo hotel room on Feb. 7.

The socially reserved coworker she knew became nasty, aggressive and belligerent after having only “half a glass of wine” and made bizarre and sexist statements calling her “a wh–e” and saying her father didn’t love her, she recounted.

Since it was around 2 a.m., Palian decided to go to bed and deal with Almansoori’s erratic behavior in the morning.

She said she awoke in the morning to Almansoori in her bed wrapped around her.

Palian narrowly escaped the April assault by convincing her alleged captor and then-coworker to pull into a rest stop where she locked herself in a bathroom and dialed 911. Facebook

“I woke up to this man bear curled around me in my bed. I was like, ‘what the hell is happening?’,” she said.

After an hour of back and forths, Almansoori reportedly told Palian he was in love with her.

She asked him to leave her apartment several times, but Almansoori instead grabbed her phone, unlocked it by holding it up to her face and went through her messages. He blocked several men he believed she was flirting with, Palian told The Post.

He then began shutting all her blinds and locked the front door, Palian said. Next, she said, he screamed, “I’m going to kill you!”

Investigators believe he hired the Ecuador native as an escort and the pair had an argument that led Almansoori to snap. DCPI

“He comes back over with this blank look in his eyes, just complete black eyes,” she said. “He gets directly on top of me…and he starts strangling me.”

Almansoori allegedly choked her while repeating that he hated that he had to kill her, but he didn’t go through with it.

“You made the devil come out of my body,” Palian said he said when he finally released her throat.

But the alleged attack wasn’t over.

Almansoori mugshot in Orange County Florida.

Palian said that Almansoori had gotten aroused after strangling her nearly to death.

She begged him not to touch her but he “wouldn’t take no for an answer” and allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him, she said.

“I was like ‘How do I know you are not going to kill me afterwards?’,” she said she asked Almansoori. “And all I had to go off of was he gave me a pinky promise that he wasn’t going to kill me afterwards.”

Following the alleged sexual assault, the pair got in Palian’s car to head to the autobody shop.

Almansoori, who was driving, seemingly taunted his alleged victim as they headed to the shop.

“He starts hyper-fixating on this song he’s playing, and it’s like a song on how to get away with murder,” she told The Post.

Scared for her life, Palian was able to convince Almansoori to pull into a 7-Eleven so she could use the restroom.

She then locked herself in the bathroom and called 911 but he soon came looking for her, she said.

He was banging on the locked door and had gotten a manager to open the stall with a key — but Palian said she quickly told the manager that she was on the phone with 911 to report Almansoori, which caused him to flee.

He allegedly took off in her car and was found by cops about a day later two hours north of the rest stop in Sumter County.

Palian said after everything, Almansoori even pawned her bike that was inside her car.

The suspect was soon slapped with a slew of charges including sexual assault, according to Palian.

“There were multiple charges and I thought this was an open and closed case and thought everything was going to be good,” she said.

Oleas-Arancibia allegedly made ends meet by working as an escort and, over the past year, spent several nights each month at the SoHo 54 Hotel.

But when she looked at her case online days later, all the more serious charges disappeared and all that was left was the grand theft auto charge.

The Florida State Attorney’s Office, Ninth Judicial Circuit did not immediately respond to a Post reporter’s question of why the other charges were dropped.

But a spokesperson for the office told the Daily News that there was “insufficient evidence to prove the Sexual Battery and Aggravated Assault charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A detective handling Palian’s case called her Tuesday to tell her that Almansoori was a suspect in the murder of a woman in New York City.

“I was in a state of shock. The only thing I could say on repeat was I told them this was going to happen…and it did,” she said.

“The state had so many ways to prevent this. It was totally preventable,” she told The Post. “The Florida system has failed women all over the U.S. now and they have blood on their hands.”

Almansoori made bail in September and eventually made his way to the Big Apple at the end of January.

Palian said he had recently called and texted her — despite a no-contact order — and now learned that he did so the same day he’s accused of killing Oleas-Arancibia.

She picked up the phone on Feb. 7 and asked why Almansoori was calling.

“I just want to see how you feel about everything that went down between us,” she said he replied in a calm voice.

She told him to never call again and hung up.

“Why did you treat me so miserably? You should never treat a man like that. I never deserved to be treated that way,” Almansoori then texted her, according to a screenshot of the texts reviewed by The Post.

Almansoori is also accused of attacking two more women after allegedly bludgeoning Oleas-Arancibia, leaving her hotel room wearing her leggings and fleeing the state.

He was arrested in Arizona Sunday on charges that he kidnapped and stabbed a female McDonald’s employee and carjacked another woman at knifepoint days after the Manhattan murder.

Palian said she knew she would not be the last woman he attacked — believing he would become a serial killer if allowed on the streets long enough.

“One of the things that is notable about serial killers is how they have no emotion behind their eyes whenever they are like this. It’s like dead eyes, and that’s what he had,” she told The Post. “It was like no consciousness, no soul behind his eyes.”

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