Tag Archives: second-degree murder

Homeless woman found guilty for 2010 Astoria Park murder

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


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


Former cop charged with murder in wife’s killing

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Nargas Karimi

A former cop has been charged with murder for the shooting death of his wife in their Briarwood apartment.

On Saturday, December 10 shortly after 11 p.m., 49-year-old Clarence Cash shot his wife Tracey Young numerous times in the head and torso with a pistol, according to the district attorney.

Young, 42, — deemed one of the top criminal investigators for the State Department of Taxation and Finance by multiple sources — was pronounced dead on arrival. She died from four shots to the torso and three to the face.

Cash, a retired cop from the 32nd Precinct in Harlem, turned himself in hours later, surrendering two loaded nine millimeter semi-automatic pistols.

“She didn’t deserve that,” Cash repeatedly told cops when he walked into the Midtown South stationhouse at 6 a.m. “He continued to say, ‘She did not deserve that. She did not deserve that,’” Queens prosecutor Robert Hanophy said at Cash’s arraignment on December 11.

Cash said he attempted to commit suicide at Rockaway Beach, according to Hanophy, but couldn’t go through with it.

He has been ordered held without bail, according to the DA, and is due back in court on January 3. Cash was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Multiple sources have reported that the couple was fighting over financial issues, but according to the NYPD, the pair was only said to be “arguing,” and there is no other information regarding what fueled the heated, deadly dispute.

Building residents told The Courier they’re shocked to hear of Young’s death.

“My husband and I met the couple a few times,” said Sumera, a fourth floor resident who did not want to give her last name. “She was a nice lady, but we didn’t have much interaction with her. We moved to this place because of our baby, but now we’re scared. It was very shocking and very unfortunate. She didn’t deserve it.”

Another female resident who lives on the sixth floor said, “I feel really sad because the lady was so nice. I met her a few times. I don’t know why [her husband] shot her. I didn’t hear them argue because we live on the sixth floor, but it’s very sad.”

— Additional reporting by Nargas Karimi.