Slain S. Jamaica worker’s family demands justice

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Just before Nayquan Miller and Charles...

By Courtney Dentch

Two southeast Queens teenagers pleaded not guilty last Thursday to fatally stabbing an 18-year-old Chinese food delivery man in South Jamaica as the victim’s family and dozens of supporters packed the courtroom.

Just before Nayquan Miller and Charles Bryant, both 16, appeared before Judge Robert Hanophy in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens for their arraignment, the family of Huang Chen, 18, joined elected officials and community leaders outside the courthouse in a call for swift justice, said Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), who helped organize the rally.

“They are evil,” said Yvonne Chen, the victim’s 22-year-old sister. “They deserve no mercy. I want them to be punished forever.”

Miller, of 168-24 127th Ave. in Rochdale Village, and Bryant, of 245-39 147th Dr. in Rosedale, are accused of beating and stabbing Huang Chen to death when he tried to deliver food from his family’s Ming Garden restaurant on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in South Jamaica to Miller’s apartment about 10 p.m. Feb. 13. Chen was reported missing at 1:45 a.m. the next morning and was found dead in Brookville Park about 9 a.m., police said.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that although Chen pleaded with the boys to take his money and let him leave, they allegedly beat him with a bat and repeatedly stabbed him in the upper torso so he would not be able to identify them.

Miller and Bryant then allegedly disposed of evidence of the crime, including bloody clothing, and took Chen’s body to nearby Brookville Park, where they dumped the corpse in a pond, the DA said.

The pair were arrested the next day and were formally arraigned last Thursday on grand jury charges of murder, robbery, possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence, a spokesman for the DA said. They have been held without bail since their initial arraignment in February, and could face 25 years to life in prison if they are convicted. The law mandates that 16-year-olds are tried as adults rather than as juveniles, a spokeswoman for the DA said.

Dozens of people gathered outside the courthouse last week to show support for the family, Liu said.

“It’s been devastating for the family,” he said. “They lost a great kid, an 18-year-old school boy who helped his family’s business outside of school in the evenings and on weekends.”

The family sold their restaurant after Huang Chen’s death, and on some days the family is barely able to leave their Woodside home, Liu said.

“They not only took away my brother’s life,” Yvonne Chen said. “they also took away my mom’s health and my father’s business. You don’t know how much pain we’ve gone through.”

Liu and others are demanding the maximum penalty for Miller and Bryant to deter other people who might attack immigrant workers. Chen’s murder mirrors others in southeast Queens over the past five years.

In 2000 five teenagers beat the owner of a local Chinese restaurant with a brick and robbed him after ordering food and having it delivered to an abandoned house. All five teens were later convicted.

In 1999 two teenage boys in Hollis killed a delivery man from another Chinese restaurant with a baseball bat after he had brought them their food.

“This is another in a series of nearly identical attacks against immigrant workers,” Liu said. “We need swift and full justice to send a message to would be attackers out there that if they perpetrate these kinds of crimes they will be caught and they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

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

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