Today’s news:

Landlord murdered tenant in Springfield Gdns.: Judge

A former Springfield Gardens landlord was found guilty after a non-jury trial last week of the 1999 shooting of a tenant during a rent dispute, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Richard Kearney, 49, of 145-11 222nd St. in Springfield Gardens, who fled to Tennessee to escape punishment, was convicted Aug. 6 of killing Bernard Giles, 37, who rented space in Kearney’s home, Brown said.

Judge Robert Hanophy found Kearney guilty of manslaughter and weapons charges at the two-week non-jury trial, Brown said. Hanophy set a sentencing date for Sept. 10, and Kearney faces 25 years to life in prison, Brown said.

“The defendant has been convicted of intentional manslaughter for shooting to death a tenant with a shotgun during a heated argument,” Brown said. “He fled the jurisdiction to evade justice, but the law has long arms and he was eventually apprehended as a result of the tireless efforts of the NYPD Cold Case Squad.”

According to trial testimony given in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens, Kearney, a construction worker and the former landlord of the 222nd Street home where he also lived, had been arguing with Giles about rent in November 1999, Brown said. On Nov. 30, the dispute escalated and Kearney, who had been drinking, left his home armed with a shotgun and went looking for Giles, who was also a construction worker, the district attorney said.

The two met at the corner of 222nd Street and 145th Avenue and started arguing, Brown said. Kearney fired the shotgun twice — once in the air and once at Giles, striking him in the neck, the DA said.

Kearney fled to Memphis, Tenn., but was arrested in September 2001 when he was detained on a domestic violence dispute in that state, Brown 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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