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Jamaica man charged in murder of woman had harassed her: DA

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Christopher Cephas, 42, of 110-10 179th Place, was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon after allegedly shooting Sasha Bollings, 29, several times on Feb. 9 outside the apartment he once shared with her.According to court documents, Cephas pleaded guilty to harassment, a charge that allowed him to be released without jail time on Jan. 25 as part of plea deal that had a charge of menacing, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail, dismissed. Cephas, the court documents said, was given a "conditional release," which required that he not run afoul of the law for six months, and was ordered to stay away from Bollings by Queens Criminal Court Judge Gene Lopez.Two weeks later, however, Bollings was pronounced dead at the scene of a grisly shooting after her body was discovered on the side of the two-family brick house where neighbors said she once shared an apartment with Cephas. Cephas, who is being held without bail, is due back in court on Feb. 24, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.Cephas was apprehended just minutes after the shooting near the corner of 179th Street and 114th Avenue, a few blocks from the crime scene. Police recovered a .38 caliber revolver and reported that the Bollings had been shot several times.Neighbors said the couple was married but had been estranged since December. A man who identified himself as Cephas' brother said the couple had been "going through problems.""I told him to leave her alone," Cephas' brother could be heard telling detectives.The couple's children were 2 and 6, according to police sources, who declined to offer more information about their current whereabouts.A 31-year-old neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said Bollings had moved out of the apartment after the couple had a bad argument sometime before Christmas. According to court documents, Bollings accused Cephas of waving an ax at her on Dec. 12. Cephas was arrested on Dec. 23 and charged with menacing and harassment.Despite her estrangement from Cephas, the victim would visit the house frequently to pick up her two children, the neighbor said. It was unclear what brought the victim to the Cephas' apartment last week, but a resident of Sayres Street, just across from the crime scene, said she heard screaming and then three gunshots shortly before 3 p.m. Workers at a Verizon Wireless repair garage on 110th Avenue said they did not hear anything but said several police cars arrived just after 3 p.m.The people reached for comment in the area last Thursday all said 179th Place and the surrounding blocks were typically quiet."Most of the people here die of natural causes," said the 31-year-old neighbor. "There's not a lot of crime here. On the other side of Linden (Boulevard), yeah. But not over here."Reach Reporter Craig Giammona by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 ext. 146.

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