Tag Archives: cold case

DNA ties man to 1996 Far Rockaway rape: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 47-year-old man has been busted for raping a woman in her Far Rockaway home more than 17 years ago after a DNA hit linked him to the crime, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Richard Thomas, whose last known address is in the Far Rockaway area, was arraigned Friday on an indictment, charging him with rape and sodomy, according to prosecutors. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

The charges came after the District Attorney Cold Case team located evidence from the crime scene that had not been previously tested for DNA, Brown said.

Thomas is accused of entering the victim’s bedroom on the night of July 28, 1996, while her husband slept next to her. Wearing a mask and armed with a gun, he threatened the husband before raping the woman on the floor, according to prosecutors. He then allegedly wiped his genitals on the floor rug and a t-shirt before fleeing.

Semen found on the rug was used to link Thomas to the rape, Brown said.

His office’s DNA Prosecutions Unit has been reviewing every unsolved sexual assault in the borough dating back to 1996, which is as far as the statute of limitations permits.

 

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DNA links man to two 1997 Richmond Hill rapes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 55-year-old man already serving a prison sentence for a burglary charge was tied through DNA evidence to two separate Richmond Hill rapes dating back to 1997, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Johnny Dupree was indicted Monday and charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy, according to the district attorney. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Dupree is currently serving a sentence of 16 years to life for pleading guilty to second-degree burglary in 2000.

A DNA sample collected after Dupree’s conviction was positively matched to DNA evidence gathered from the rape victims and crime scenes, Brown said. Though the evidence had been previously tested, more sophisticated techniques, that were not available at the time of the crimes, conclusively matched the DNA to Dupree.

“My office’s DNA Prosecutions Unit has been systematically reviewing every unsolved sexual assault in Queens County dating back to 1996 – which is as far as the statute of limitations permits,” Brown said.

Dupree is accused of entering both of the women’s apartments, ages 23 and 24, in the middle of the night while they were asleep and raping them at knifepoint, according to the district attorney.

 

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LIC nurse charged in 1984 Louisiana cold-case murder


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A cold case is heating up.

A Long Island City nurse and former exotic dancer was arrested in connection with the nearly three-decade-old murder of a Baton Rouge, Louisiana businessman. Leila Mulla, 47, was arrested and charged with the crime by New York City police last week. She presently awaits arraignment and faces extradition back to Louisiana, where a warrant has been issued for her arrestarr, charging Mulla with second-degree murder, criminal conspiracy and simple robbery.

According to investigators, the victim, Gary Kergan, 29, was last seen in 1984 with Mulla — who was then working as an exotic dancer — leaving a nightclub in Baton Rouge. Kergan’s abandoned vehicle was later discovered by Louisiana police in Metairie, Louisiana with what appeared to be blood spattered in the trunk. However according to Baton Rouge police, authorities were unable to determine at that time if the blood belonged to the victim.

When detectives searched the apartment Mulla shared with her boyfriend — who is now her co-defendant in the case — they allegedly found evidence of a violent struggle.

Mulla’s former boyfriend and co-defendant, Ronald Dalton Dunnagan, 64, of Bossier City, Louisiana, was also arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, simple robbery and first degree murder, according to Baton Rouge police.

Mulla and Dunnagan were arrested in December of 1984 and charged in connection with Kergan’s death, however the Louisiana DA at the time declined to prosecute due to lack of evidence and both suspects were released.

While Kergan’s body has not yet been retrieved, courts declared him legally dead in 1986.

The Queens DA said cold case detectives in Louisiana recently tested the blood left in the trunk of the victim’s car, leading them to connect the newly obtained evidence to the previously targeted suspects.

Mulla’s Facebook timeline is filled with links to stories of overcoming struggle and the benefits to maintaining a positive outlook.

“Leila Mulla is known for her optimistic outlook in life, which is evident in her beliefs,” reads her “About” section on the social networking site. “For one, she believes that all people are indebted to God not only for the physical gifts that they receive, but most importantly for the greatest gift of all — life.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Bust in 1980 Queens slay

An NYPD detective cracked a really cold case this week when fingerprints from an inmate were linked to the death of a Queens man in a home-invasion burglary 32 years ago. Ernest Mattison, 49, formerly of Flushing, was charged with murder in the Sept. 10, 1980, strangulation of Cecil Schiff, 73. Schiff, who fled Poland to escape the Holocaust, was found dead in his Franklin Avenue home, sitting in a chair and bleeding from the head. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Justice for Trayvon’

The parents of a Florida teen shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain vowed at a Union Square rally last night to seek justice for their son. “Trayvon Martin did matter . . . We are not going to stop until we get justice for Trayvon,” the teen’s father, Tracy Martin, told a crowd of 1,200. He described his 17-year-old son as “your typical teenager . . . Trayvon was not, and I repeat, was not a bad person.” He lashed out at George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old aspiring law officer who claims he killed Trayvon in self defense while patrolling his gated community. Read More: New York Post

 

Commissioner Kelly sees parents of slain teen

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly yesterday met for the first time with the parents of an unarmed teenage drug suspect who was fatally shot by a cop in the family’s Bronx apartment, The Post has learned. Franclot Graham, Constance Malcolm and their attorneys huddled with Kelly at One Police Plaza for about an hour, and then exited without comment. The sitdown came about seven weeks after their 18-year-old son, Ramarley Graham, was killed on Feb. 2 by Officer Richard Haste, who was assigned to a Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit. Read More: New York Post

 

No rest for this defense as Mike Woodson’s resurgent NY Knicks impress Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers missed their first 14 shots, mainly because they had a hard time spotting the basket through the purposeful torsos and hands. These new Knicks frightened Doug Collins on Wednesday night with their sheer dynamism on defense, which is something he saw only from his own team earlier in the season. The Knicks trap now at halfcourt. They front the ball. They block shots and force turnovers. Read More: Daily News

 

Doctors-in-training stage mutiny at Peninsula Hospital 

Peninsula Hospital’s doctors-in-training are staging a mutiny as the troubled hospital’s vital signs continue to look grim following a state-mandated shutdown of its lab, the Daily News has learned. A coalition of furious medical residents are pushing their governing body, the American Osteopathic Association, to revoke Peninsula’s credentials as a teaching facility before the court-appointed overseer gives them all the axe, sources said Tuesday. Read More: Daily News

Man Charged With Molesting Girl In Manhattan Donut Shop

A man accused of touching an 11-year-old girl inside a Manhattan donut shop is now under arrest. Kerry Abrams, 54, is facing sex abuse charges. Surveillance video caught Abrams after the alleged incident on March 7 at the Dunkin Donuts on First Avenue at 21st Street. Read More: NY1

Panel For Educational Policy Approves 19 School Co-Locations

When it comes to sharing school buildings, and the space squeeze that often results, it is common for parents and teachers to be angry. But Wednesday night at a meeting in Chelsea, Manhattan, some parents were so upset they began to cry. Parents from P.S. 53 in East New York, Brooklyn begged the the Panel for Educational Policy not to vote to move their school to a new building. Read More: NY1

 

Queens Bank Robber Attacks Five Banks In Two Months

Authorities were searching Wednesday for a robber in Queens accused of stealing cash from three out of five banks he has attacked since last month. In the most recent incident last Thursday, police say the man in the above surveillance photo walked into a Chase Bank at 66-02 Grand Avenue in Maspeth and handed a note to the teller demanding cash. He took off with an undisclosed amount of money. Read More: NY1