Updated Tuesday, Feb. 3, 9:34 a.m.
An Astoria man killed a friend who was visiting from Italy during an argument in a neighborhood park Saturday afternoon, shooting him in the back of the head, officials said.
“The defendant is accused of taking the life of a friend who was seeking his help in starting a new life in this country,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.
William Klinger, 42, of Rome, Italy, and his friend Alexander Bonich, 50, were inside Astoria Park, located at 19th Street and 23rd Road on Saturday afternoon when they began to argue, Brown said.
Klinger tried to walk away when Bonich allegedly told him to stop, but Klinger ignored him. That’s when Bonich shot him in the back in the head, the district attorney’s office said. Klinger fell to the ground and his pal shot him once more in the head.
According to published reports, Bonich killed Klinger, a Communist historian and fellow Croatian national, over a failed real estate deal in Italy.
Bonich then allegedly ditched the clothing he been wearing along with his weapon, ammunition and spent shells. He got rid of the antique revolver he used to kill his friend by tossing it in the East River, reports said.
Cops found Klinger’s body about 2:30 p.m. that day near the park’s pool, police said. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Bonich, an Astoria resident, is currently being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence, according to the district attorney’s office. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.