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Stabbings claim lives of brothers

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Two half brothers were stabbed to death in Jamaica early Saturday morning after a scuffle broke out between them and a trio of 19-year-old men, police said.

On Saturday night candles were lit and placed on the sidewalk in front of a brick wall next to the crime scene at 90-11 149th St.

Police said someone called 911 shortly before 6 a.m. to report a stabbing. But when police arrived at 90-11 149th St., they saw three men pushing one of the two victims, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said one of the three men stabbed the two other men, who were later identified as half brothers. The three suspects fled but were apprehended by police patrol units.

Police arrested Ernesto Magana, 19, of 91-56 116th St., Richmond Hill; Adrian Soriano, 19, of 22-40 Mott Ave., Far Rockaway; and Amilcar Gomez, 19, of 112-25 Jamaica Ave., Richmond Hill.

The victims, Eduardo Leason, 25, and Pedro Martinez, 33, were pronounced dead upon arrival at area hospitals, police said. They lived with their mother, who is from El Salvador, in an apartment at 148-14 90th Ave., neighbors said.

"They were really nice people from a good family," said a man outside the 90th Avenue apartment who identified himself as a cousin of the brothers but would not give his name. "They were born here. They worked together in a furniture warehouse. They were hardworking and well-liked in the neighborhood."

According to the cousin, the two half brothers were coming home from a restaurant with a woman friend when they were approached by the three suspects, who began to "disrespect" her.

When the brothers tried to defend their female friend, a scuffle broke out and the brothers were stabbed, said the cousin, who broke into tears after recounting the incident.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney, Soriano was charged with stabbing Leason and Martinez with a knife which he later threw into a sewer drain. Gomez and Magana were charged with acting in concert with Soriano, the complaint said.

After Leason was stabbed, the three suspects surrounded Martinez and then Soriano knifed him, the complaint said.

At the impromptu memorial at the crime scene the wall was spray painted with the words "Wally lives. Zane vive (lives)," and "03.1.03 R.I.P. WZ," in memory of Leason, who was known as "Wally" and Martinez, who was known as "Zane".

"I can't even count how many times we've chilled with these guys," said a resident of 148-14 90th Ave. who grew up with the brothers. "It's sad and it's tragic, but when God calls your number, that's it."

Julio Maldonado, the owner of Hernandez Grocery, a bodega down the street from where the stabbings occurred, said the neighborhood was normally nice and quiet.

"People stand out on the streets, but that's normal," he said. "I can't complain. It's a nice neighborhood."

Larry Perlman, 81, who has lived at 90-11 149th St. for 35 years, said the neighborhood used to be drug-infested about 15 years ago, but it had since been cleaned up, and he was not aware of any gang activity.

"I know everybody, but I guess it doesn't mean anything," Perlman said. "I go out every morning at 5 a.m. for a newspaper, doughnuts and coffee. It could've been me."

Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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