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College Pt. engineer guilty of shooting homeless man

Vadim Traut, 54, was found guilty of murder and criminal...

By Cynthia Koons

A College Point man was convicted last week of murder charges stemming from a September 2002 shooting in which a homeless man was killed in Powell’s Cove, the Queens district attorney said.

Vadim Traut, 54, was found guilty of murder and criminal possession of a weapon Feb. 4 in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens.

He now faces a prison term of 25 years to life. He will be sentenced March 4.

“The defendant’s conduct was violent and dangerous and warrants imposition of a lengthy prison sentence,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant is responsible for intentionally taking the life of a homeless man by shooting him in the back.”

Traut shot the victim, a 46-year-old man known in the neighborhood as “Mouse,” once in the back on Sept. 19, 2002, according to the DA’s office.

Three other homeless people emerged from their shanty when they heard the gunshot and saw Traut standing over Kevin Monroe, the DA said. Traut then ordered one of the witnesses to help dispose of the body and when the onlooker did not agree, Traut hit him in the head with his 12-gauge shotgun, according to the DA

The two men were believed to be arguing over one of the women who lived in the colony, a police source said.

Traut, who worked as a mechanical engineer for a food- processing plant in Maspeth, had recently lost his job and was going through a divorce when the shooting occurred, according to reports.

The shantytown where Monroe was shot sits alongside the College Point Yacht Club and is known as “The Box” to local residents. Residents in the area said relations between the homeless and the locals usually was peaceful.

Traut was found the night of the murder after an extensive police search.

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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