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Flushing man gets 50 years in grisly Astoria knife slay

A homeless man from Flushing was sentenced Monday to the maximum punishment of 50 years to life in prison for slaughtering two employees with a 17-inch butcher knife at an Astoria supermarket

Troy Brown, 42, who used to live in the Pomonok Houses in Flushing, still proclaimed his innocence as Judge Robert Hanophy imposed the sentence in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens.

Brown was convicted of the murders May 13 after a four-week trial.

Brown entered and hid inside the Trade Fair supermarket at 37-11 Ditmars Blvd. shortly before its midnight closing on Dec. 17, 2000, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

He later attacked two employees, stabbing and slashing them as many as 70 times, stealing cash and personal property from one of them as well as $4,000 from the supermarket office before he broke a front window and fled, the DA said. A 17-inch knife was recovered along with 22 blood samples at the crime scene.

The victims were both immigrants who worked to send money back home to their families: Pedro Narvaez, 45, supported his children, wife and mother in Ecuador, and Lucio Moran, 36, left behind family in Mexico.

"The defendant has been convicted of intentionally taking the lives of two hardworking family men during a burglary," DA Richard Brown said. "I hope that the families of the victims find a measure of solace knowing the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison."

Troy Brown was sleeping in the supermarket because he had nowhere else to go, said Brown's lawyer, David Cohen.

"Troy Brown was sleeping or hiding in the basement of the store because he was homeless," Cohen said. "The people in the basement startled him."

Brown was brought to the 114th Precinct's station house for questioning when telephone records showed he had called the store several months before the killing from Riker's Island, where he was being held in another case, law enforcement sources said.

During his sentencing hearing, Brown said his presence at the police station proved his innocence.

"If I committed a crime, why would I go to the precinct?" Brown asked. "Why wouldn't I run?"

But Hanophy refused to listen to Brown's pleas.

"You're in a serious case of denial," Hanophy said. "You confessed to the crime. Property stolen from the victims was found in your bag."

He showed up with a makeshift bandage covering a four-inch puncture wound between his thumb and forefinger, an injury Brown claimed he accidentally suffered while cutting steak, the DA said.

But when detectives convinced him to get medical treatment from EMS workers, they saved the blood-stained napkin, which matched blood found on the knife and a basement sink at the supermarket, the DA said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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