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