Tag Archives: Murder

Man arraigned in murder of wife, kids; killed daughters because he didn’t have car seats, DA says


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A Jamaica father accused of fatally stabbing his wife and small children in a jealous rage was arraigned and held without bail Friday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, appeared in Queens County Court on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon after being extradited from Texas where he was captured by authorities Monday night, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

He allegedly killed his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Photos via Facebook

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

The District Attorney also said he killed his girls because he didn’t have car seats to take them with after committing the crime, according to the New York Daily News. He was reportedly heading to Mexico when was caught in Texas.

“I met this morning with the family and close friends of Deisy Mejia who – together with her two infant daughters – were stabbed to death last weekend.  We were joined by the Guatemalan Consul General.  Everyone is, of course, devastated by that which occurred.  I assured them that this case will be vigorously prosecuted and there will be no plea bargaining,” Brown said in a statement Friday.

If convicted, Mejia-Ramos faces life in prison without possibility of parole. He is due back in court on Feb. 14.

A wake was held Thursday evening at Garcia’s local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo for the young mother and her daughters.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

 

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Jamaica man charged with murder of wife, two young daughters


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Jamaica man has been charged with the murder of his wife and two young daughters after being apprehended in Texas and allegedly admitting to the crime, District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, is currently being held at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, where he was taken into custody on Monday evening, according to the district attorney.

He is awaiting extradition to New York where he will be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Friday on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon.  If convicted, he faces life in prison without possibility of parole.

Mejia-Ramos is accused of brutally stabbing wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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Father wanted in stabbing death of wife, two daughters arrested in Texas


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Queens man suspected in the brutal killing of his wife and two young daughters has been apprehended in Texas, police said.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 28, was arrested by U.S. Marshals, just before midnight Monday, between Austin and Houston, according to published reports. Charges are pending and he will appear in court before being extradited back to New York, cops said.

Police had been looking for Mejia-Ramos since discovering his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1, stabbed to death in a bedroom of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment just after 7 p.m. Sunday. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, the NYPD said.

Photos via Facebook

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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Man fatally stabbed in Glendale


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 5:20 p.m.

A man is dead after he was stabbed multiple times in Glendale Saturday, police said.

Officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found 26-year-old Emilliano LLames, of Brooklyn, on Cypress Hills Street, near 80th Avenue, about 2:10 a.m., with numerous stab wounds to the chest, the NYPD said.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Retired correction officer fatally shot in Queens Village


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

corrections 002

Updated Monday, Jan. 13, 4:55 p.m. 

A 50-year-old retired correction officer is dead after he was shot in Queens Village Friday morning following a domestic dispute with two other correction officers, according to published reports and police.

The shooting occurred about 4:30 a.m. at 108th Avenue near 227th Street, the NYPD said.

The victim, identified by police as Jeffrey Ragland, of Jamaica, was taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest and pronounced dead, cops said.

Ragland, who formerly worked for the Department of Correction, was killed following an argument with two current correction officers, according to published reports.

Sources told the New York Post the dispute involved a “love triangle” between Ragland, his estranged girlfriend and her new boyfriend, and it was the boyfriend who pulled the trigger.

Police said Friday a man and a woman were currently in custody.

As of the Monday afternoon, police said no charges had been brought in the homicide, but the investigation is still ongoing.

According to the New York Daily News, the boyfriend told police that he shot Ragland in self defense, only after Ragland pulled a gun on him.

 

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30-year-old shot to death in Queens Village


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man was found fatally shot in Queens Village Wednesday night, cops said.

Officers discovered 30-year-old Earl Jackson inside of 212-20 Jamaica Ave. about 10:50 pm. with a gunshot wound to the back of the head and the torso, according to the NYPD.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, cops said.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

 

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NYC murders, shootings reach record lows


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leaving office with the fewest murders and shootings in recorded city history.

He made the announcement Friday along with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly at the graduation ceremony for 1,171 new police officers at Madison Square Garden.

“New York’s crime-fighting strategies have made us America’s safest big city – and one that cities across the globe want to learn from,” said Bloomberg. “Twelve years ago, no one thought New York’s crime rate could go any lower. But it did.”

There have been 332 homicides so far in 2013, down 20 percent from the previous record low, set last year, according to the mayor. Murders have dropped 32 percent since 2001, when he was elected.

In Queens, there were 1,374 fewer homicides between 2002 and December 20 of this year than during the 12 years prior to that period.

Shootings have declined by 20 percent from 2012’s record low, with 1,093 shootings through Thursday, December 26, and have dropped by 32 percent since 2001.

The city began recording homicide numbers in 1963, when there were 548 murders. The homicide rate peaked in 1990 with 2,245 deaths, according to Police Department stats.

Shootings statistics were first recorded with the introduction of NYPD’s Compstat crime reporting system in 1994, according to the mayor.

Crime in schools and on the subway has also seen significant drops in recent years.

Major crimes in schools are down 56 percent and violent crime has decreased 55 percent since 2001.

In 1990, there were 50 crimes per day on the subway, and only 7.1 crimes per day in 2013.

The mayor said the crime drop could not be attributed to putting more people in prison, since incarceration rates have decreased since 2001.

Policing strategies, such as Operation Impact, which pairs rookie and veteran officers to “flood high-crime zones” and Operation Crew Cut, an initiative combating loosely affiliated gangs, helped keep the shooting and murder rates down, the mayor said.

 

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One dead, one wounded in Far Rockaway shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A shooting inside a Far Rockaway home Monday left one man dead and another wounded, police said.

Shots rang out about 8 p.m. inside a residence at 211 Beach 31st St, police said. Daniel Fils, 18, was struck once in the chest and a 23-year-old man was shot in the arm.

Fils was taken to St. John’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The second victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Jamaica man gets 95 years to life for double murder, attempted murder


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Jamaica man has been sentenced to 95 years to life for a December 2011 shooting spree where he fatally shot an 18-year-old, then shot and killed one man and injured another man on a city bus while fleeing, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“The defendant’s capacity for causing senseless violence in such a short period of time can only be described as incomprehensible and as having no place in a civilized society,” said Brown. “His actions were both vicious and unprovoked. The sentence imposed by the Court is more than justified in order to punish the defendant and forever protect society.”

According to the District Attorney, Damel O. Burton, 34,  shot Keith Murrell, 18, once in the chest inside Murrell’s Foch Boulevard apartment.  After being shot, Murrell fled into his room, closed the door and jumped from the second-story window. He was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

Burton then left the apartment and walked to the Q111 bus stop, where he got on a bus. While on the bus Burton fatally shot Marvin Gilkes, 36, in the back of the head and shot Jojuan Lipsey, 31, in the face. Gilkes was pronounced dead at the scene. Lipsey was removed to Jamaica Hospital and underwent surgery.

Burton was convicted earlier this month of  two counts of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

 

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Homeless woman found guilty for 2010 Astoria Park murder


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY JOHANN HAMILTON

A homeless woman has been found guilty of strangling and beating a man to death in Astoria Park.

According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Kelly Harnett, 32, and her boyfriend Thomas Donovan, 34, were arrested on July 7, 2010, in connection with the murder of Ruben Angel Vargas, who police found strangled and beaten around 4 a.m. that morning. Donovan, who pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Following her arrest, Harnett had been ordered without bail, and has since been convicted of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial presided by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak. Harnett’s last known address was on Shore Boulevard in Astoria, said the district attorney.

“This was a senseless crime in which an innocent victim was robbed of his life,” said Brown. “Justice will only be served – and society protected – when the defendant, like her co-defendant, is given a length prison sentence to punish her for such a wanton act of violence.”

According to trial testimony, Vargas, 32, was in Astoria Park when Harnett repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso while Donovan choked him, said Brown. Afterward, Harnett handed a shoelace to Donovan, who used it to further strangle and kill Vargas before fleeing the scene. The couple was arrested shortly afterwards. Donovan, whose last known address was in Manhattan, pleaded guilty on August 2, 2010.

Harnett’s sentencing is scheduled for November 20. If convicted she faces up to 25 years to life in prison

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Cops ID Ridgewood body; suspect charged with murder


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

Twenty-seven year old Derek Tudor confessed to killing his mother’s boyfriend, Frank Soucie, whose body investigators recovered from his Ridgewood backyard, a police source said.

Criminal charges indicate that Tudor intentionally suffocated Soucie, 60, sometime between Sunday, April 21 and Sunday, April 28 in or around the Putnam Avenue home, said District Attorney Richard Brown.

Soucie was thought to be missing until a neighbor reported Tudor acting suspiciously to the local precinct on Tuesday, April 30.

Police responded to the call and searched the area. They searched the building’s rooftop, where investigators allegedly found a knotted electrical cord and a bottle of ammonia. On the roof of a connected building, they found a large plastic bin and what appeared to be blood. Police also found visible drag marks leading to the back of the building, according to the district attorney.

In Soucie’s backyard, police found a fresh pile of dirt, the source said. Underneath, they found a male’s body wrapped in sheets, later determined to be Soucie. According to the medical examiner’s office, Soucie died as a result of homicidal asphyxiation.

Neighbors said Soucie lived with his girlfriend, Stephanie Verni, 54, and her son in the Ridgewood apartment. The couple often argued about her son, they said, and Soucie wanted him to move out.

On Tuesday morning, eight days after Soucie went missing, Tudor was seen wandering inside Soucie’s building. He walked into a third-floor apartment, where a tenant found him. Tudor seemed “panicked” and asked to use the fire escape to get into to Soucie’s second-floor apartment just below, said the tenant’s boyfriend, Raymond Velez.

“It was weird how this kid was acting,” Velez said.

Moments later, neighbors saw Tudor come out of the building with a large white laundry bag. He threw it into a garbage can, and Velez, who was outside, went to investigate. Velez said he opened the bag and found what appeared to be burnt clothes inside layers of black garbage bags. He said the clothes gave off a burning, chemical smell.

At 6:15 p.m. that same day, Tudor went with his biological father to the 102nd Precinct and turned himself in. According to the police source, he made statements incriminating himself, and was later charged with murder.

Tudor was arrested for forcible touching in 2010. He was also arrested for jumping a turnstile.

Neighbors in the tight-knit Ridgewood community are distraught somebody could do this to their longtime friend.

“He would never hurt a fly,” said Debbie Webster, who knew Soucie for more than 20 years. “When we found out he was missing, we knew something had happened. He didn’t deserve something like this.”

Tudor was arraigned on Thursday, May 2 on second-degree murder charges. He was ordered held without bail and will return to court on Wednesday, May 15. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney.

Two charged with murder, starting fire to cover it up


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Authorities have arrested and charged two men in conjunction with the South Richmond Hill fire that revealed one man tied up and shot.

Jason St. Hill, 17, and Stephen Peters, 22, of Richmond Hill were arrested on Thursday, February 28. Both were charged with kidnapping, arson, murder and burglary, among other charges.

The victim, Azeem Ali, 43, was found unconscious and unresponsive after firefighters extinguished the blaze on 95th Avenue early the morning of Sunday, February 24.

St. Hill and Peters allegedly went to Ali’s second floor apartment to steal money from him. Once inside, Peters punched and pistol-whipped Ali, then tied his hands and feet with electrical cord, according to the criminal complaint.

Peters then went to the basement, where he found gasoline to bring back to Ali’s apartment. St. Hill allegedly held Ali at gunpoint, and Peters demanded Ali’s PIN number and his ATM card.

Then, Peters shot Ali in the head, and poured gasoline around the apartment before lighting it on fire.

After committing the grisly act, St. Hill and Peters allegedly left the scene and went to a gas station where they withdrew $200 cash using Ali’s card.

The pair is being held without bail and will return to court on Thursday, March 14. If convicted, they face up to 25 years to life in prison.

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Bodega worker gunned down in Ridgewood


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A man working behind the counter in a Ridgewood deli was shot and killed during an apparent robbery last night.

Ishak Ghali, 26, was killed at approximately 6 p.m. while at his job at All Friends Deli on Onderdonk Avenue, according to police.

A cousin of Ghali told NY1 that he was killed by one shot to the head.

Ghalil moved to the country from Egypt six years ago a friend told dnainfo.com.

“We came here six and a half years ago for a better life,” Antonyous Solimon told the website. “He loved his parents and sisters. He was excited to see his family.”

The suspect remains at large and the investigation is ongoing. A $12,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

Bayside man accused of killing parents pleads not guilty


| mchan@queenscourier.com

CUCCHIARA, GREGORY D.

The Bayside man facing double murder charges for allegedly killing his parents pleaded not guilty last week in Queens Supreme Court, his lawyer said.

Gregory Cucchiara, 36, is being held without bail on Rikers Island for allegedly suffocating his father a little over one year after drowning his mother, authorities said.

According to the district attorney, he beat his mother, Giusepina “Josephine” Cucchiara, over the head before submerging her in water last year on May 24, 2011, and smothered his father, Carmelo Cucchiara, to death 15 months later in August 2012.

Police said they uncovered DNA evidence under the victims’ fingernails, connecting Cucchiara to their murders.

But lawyer Michael Anastasiou said the scientific reports, which he has not yet obtained, could render prosecutors’ “evidence” moot.

“Many times, they say that DNA is extracted from the nail when in fact we find out, as defense attorneys, that it was in fact taken from the top of the nail and not inside,” he said. “Quite honestly, the transfer ability of DNA could occur on both ends, inside and outside, so the difference would be very slight. I could shake your hand and you could shake hands with someone else, and my DNA would be on your hand.”

The attorney said it was “too soon” to review the reports, but hopes DNA and autopsy findings will tip the scale in Cucchiara’s favor.

“The scientific reports here are going to be even more material than any other homicide investigation,” Anastasiou said.

Cucchiara also pleaded not guilty to attacking two police officers last month, when they questioned him about the murders in an Astoria precinct, his lawyer said.

He faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

Bayside man charged with murdering parents 15 months apart


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Bayside man faces murder charges for allegedly suffocating his father a little more than a year after drowning his mother, according to the district attorney.

Gregory Cucchiara, 36, has been named in an indictment charging him with two counts of second-degree murder for beating his mother over the head before submerging her in water and smothering his father to death, District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

Giusepina “Josephine” Cucchiara’s homicide took place May 24, 2011, the district attorney said, and father Carmelo Cucchiara was killed 15 months in August 2012.

“This is a horrifying case of a young man throwing his life away and betraying the trust of his family,” Brown said. “The defendant’s actions, if true, are incomprehensible in a civilized society and must be severely punished.”

Neighbors described the Cucchiaras as “the nicest people” but said they had their own troubles with the deceased couple’s “problematic” son.

“The parents were sweethearts, but the son was a little weird. Unfortunately, he had problems,” said neighbor Rossana F., who did not want to give her last name.

Rossana said her family has a two-year restraining order filed against Gregory Cucchiara after they provided video proof to police that the neighbor was vandalizing her family’s cars and home.

She said the community was not shocked when news broke of Cucchiara’s alleged connection to his parents’ murders.

“We knew immediately when it happened to Josephine. We all said we thought it was the son,” Rossana said. “We knew someday something would happen to the father. We knew it, and he knew it.”

Neighbor Craig Guzzone said Cucchiara was “definitely a significant danger to everybody here,” but Guzzone said he did not think his longtime neighbor had murder in his heart.

“I really didn’t know he was capable of that,” he said.

Cucchiara is charged in a separate indictment, with various degrees of assault and obstructing governmental administration, for allegedly attacking two police officers last month, when they questioned him about the murders.

He is expected to be arraigned on both indictments on December 12 in Queens Supreme Court and faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted, the district attorney said.