Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that a Bronx man has been convicted of fatally stabbing a 45-year-old Queens man twice in the chest following a dispute inside the victim’s Astoria apartment.
District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant has been convicted of the stabbing death of an unarmed man after engaging in a dispute with the man in his own home. His actions will now result in his serving what will probably be the rest of his life behind bars.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Ricardo Garcia-Villegas, now 53, whose last known address was 2319 Hughes Avenue in the Bronx. The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Darrell L. Gavrin, who presided at the one-week jury trial, set sentencing for March 24, 2008, at which time the defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to testimony at trial, Garcia-Villegas attended a party in Queens on January 8, 2006, and spent the night in the basement apartment that his nephew, son-in-law and several other people, including the victim, Armando Perez, rented at 12-12 31st Avenue in Astoria. The following day, Perez called the police to report that someone had broken his bedroom door. Although no arrests were made, responding police notified the building’s landlord that the basement apartment was an illegal single room occupancy and that all the occupants would have to vacate the premises.
After police left, Garcia-Villegas was observed by his nephew, Luis Picazza, exiting Perez’s bedroom with a bloody kitchen knife in his hands and that Perez was laying on his bed with blood on his chest. Garcia-Villegas then closed the door, wiped the doorknob and placed a chair in front of it, telling his nephew, “that’s what he (Perez) gets for calling the police.” He told his nephew that if anyone asked, he did not see him (Garcia-Villegas).
Garcia-Villegas then washed the knife and placed it in the dish rack before leaving the apartment. The nephew notified his employer of what had transpired and the employer, in turn, called police.