DA charges Maspeth teen in sword death

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Michael Desiderio, 18, of 54-43 66th St., was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the stabbing death of Ricardo Richardson between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., the DA said.

Desiderio pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday in Queens Criminal Court before Judge Lenora Gerald, who remanded him without bail and set a return date of June 28, according to the DA. If convicted, Desiderio faces 25 years to life in prison, the DA said.

The Maspeth youth is charged with killing Richardson "by striking him numerous times with a long metal samurai sword and inflicting cuts to the back of the victim's head, the right side of the face, the right hand and the back of the neck," the DA said in a statement.

      The dispute may have involved a BB gun that a law enforcement official said was confiscated at the scene.

The DA said Desiderio fled the scene, a two-story house at 57-39 Maspeth Rd., leaving Richardson to bleed to death. The victim was believed to be a recent immigrant from Trinidad.

"The death was the result of violent and mindless conduct," Brown said.

Desiderio was later apprehended at his mother's home by officers from the 104th Precinct,

His lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said police illegally questioned Desiderio without a lawyer. The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that the 18-year-old admitted to the slaying to police an hour after it occurred, a report which could not be independently corroborated.

      "We haven't seen a statement," Gottlieb told the TimesLedger.

He said Desiderio, who lives with his mother and works in a Queens law office filing papers, was wrongfully kept from his family and lawyer while in police custody. He said the youth, who has a GED, was "very distraught by what happened."

The DA said Richardson lived at the house where he was killed. But a woman who claimed to have lived there for more than 20 years with her son said she did not know the 18-year-old.

"I really don't know anything," the woman said. "I've never heard that name before."

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the house was a hangout for local youths who often partied and played loud music there.

Five broken-down cars were parked outside the house. Yellow police tape was stuffed into an overflowing trash can on the lot, next to an empty above-ground swimming pool.

The neighbor said the young people who hang out there are a nuisance.

"There's some crazy people over there," the man said. "I wouldn't say there's a bad apple over there. There's a bunch of bad apples over there."

Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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