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Two men from Astoria charged in New Year juice bar murders

Johnny Banks, 32, and Frederich Donovan, 19, both of whom live at 2-10 27th Ave. in Astoria, were arrested Jan. 18 and have been charged with murder, kidnapping, criminal possession of a weapon and assault, the DA said. If convicted, they each face a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, the DA said."The crimes that the defendants are accused of committing are another shocking example of the mindless gun-related violence that all too often takes innocent lives and recklessly endangers public safety," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.The two men were allegedly involved in a dispute with Kendall Scott, 37, of Syracuse; Joseph Williams, 31, of Hempstead, L.I.; and another unidentified 30-year-old man inside the bar around 2:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, Brown said. According to authorities, the dispute involved as many as 10 people. During the argument, Banks and Donovan allegedly removed the unidentified 30-year-old man forcibly from the bar, which is located at 3-15 27th Ave., and Banks beat him about the head with his gun before shooting the victim in the leg, the DA said.The two men then allegedly fired their guns in the direction of Williams, striking him once in the chest and fatally wounding him, the DA said. Williams was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Astoria, where he was pronounced dead at 4:20 a.m., police said. Kendall Scott was also shot during the incident and pronounced dead at 4:44 a.m., police said. Police were still investigating Scott's death, a spokesman for the DA's office said.Accused shooter Banks' real name is John Scott but he was not related to the victim Kendall Scott.William Finney said his brother - Kendall Scott - was in Astoria visiting his mother, who lives in the Astoria Houses, on the day of the shooting.A spokesman for the DA's office said the dispute was likely gang-related and that the two victims- Kendall Scott and Williams - and the unidentified 30-year-old man were together at the bar.Banks and Donovan were arrested on Jan. 18 and arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Steven Paynter, who remanded the defendants without bail and set a return date of Feb. 6.There have been four murders in Astoria since the beginning of the New Year. In addition to the New Year's Eve shootings, a 45-year-old Mexican immigrant was stabbed in his apartment at 31st Avenue on Jan. 9 and a Ridgewood man was stabbed to death outside the Santorini Cafe on Steinway Street in Astoria around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 6. Police have arrested a Bronx man in the Jan. 9 stabbing, but no arrests have been made in the Jan. 6 stabbing.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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