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Carlos Fortier, who is currently being held on weapons charges in a separate case, pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree murder in Manhattan's State Supreme Court. He was held without bail and is due back in court May 20, the DA said.Eduard Nektalov, an Uzbek immigrant, was shot once in the head and twice in the back May 20 as he was walking up Sixth Avenue from his family-owned Manhattan jewelry shop on West 47th Street. The unidentified gunman fled the scene, but the .45-caliber bullet shell casings he left were later matched to the four found at the scene of an Aug. 30 shooting where Fortier was charged with firing into a crowd in the Tremont section of the Bronx, police said. That bullet match along with help from witnesses led the DA to indict Fortier last Thursday, authorities said.Lt. T.J. Moroney said it was unclear what the motive was for the Manhattan shooting or if Fortier was hired to kill Nektalov.Fortier, 36, has been at Riker's Island since his arrest last summer on the Bronx shooting charges, according to the Department of Corrections. He is due back in court for that case April 14.Moroney said Fortier has been convicted of at least one other murder, including one in Manhattan in 1988 for which he served about five years in jail for manslaughter before being released in April 2003. He was then extradited to Puerto Rico to finish out a sentence for murder after having escaped from the Las Cucharas Correctional Complex in 1997, police said. He was allegedly released in January 2004 only to be collared again seven months later in connection to the Bronx shooting, authorities confirmed.Nektalov, 46, a prominent gem merchant from Forest Hills and a citywide leader of Bukharian Jews, was under indictment for money laundering when he was gunned down. He and his father had pleaded not guilty in June 2003 to charges of agreeing to help smuggle $600,000 worth of gold and diamonds out of the country from their store, Roman & Sons Jewelers, federal records showed. The trial was set to begin last summer. Nektalov's father, Roman, was later convicted of one count of money laundering.In February, another Uzbek immigrant, Simon Samandarov, 30, of Forest Hills, was convicted of shooting Nektalov's cousin, Alik Pinkhasov, outside a bar in Rego Park. Pinkhasov, 39, survived his two bullet wounds to the back and buttocks and testified in the trial.Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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