A Manhattan judge dropped charges Tuesday against a 65-year-old Maspeth man and his friend accused of dressing up the corpse of their Hell's Kitchen friend and wheeling him into a Ninth Avenue check-cashing business to cash his Social Security check, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney said.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Evelyn LaPorte dismissed the charges against David Daloia, of 56-34 Remsen Place in Maspeth, and James O'Hare, 65, of 436 W. 52nd St. in Manhattan, on the grounds that it could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt when the duo's pal, Virgilio Cintron, 66, had died, the spokeswoman said.
The case against the two revolved around whether he was dead before his two pals rolled him out of his apartment in a chair to the check-cashing business.
The city's medical examiner concluded that Cintron died from natural causes. But the medical examiner could not determine when the man died, a spokeswoman for Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau said.
Daloia and O'Hare had been facing charges of forgery, petit larceny and failing to decently bury the body of a dead person, which could have resulted in their being sentenced up to seven years in prison, the DA said.
O'Hare had been a longtime roommate of Cintron, once known as "The Fox" in his Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, police said.
Daloia and O'Hare were charged with dressing up Cintron's corpse on Jan. 8 and rolling him in a desk chair into a Pay-O-Matic on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, Morgenthau said. The pair attempted to cash a $355 Social Security check payable to Cintron, but the scheme caught the attention of NYPD Detective Travis Rapp, who had been eating in a nearby restaurant, police said.
Jose Rodriguez, a friend of Cintron's, told the New York Post he believed Cintron would have wanted his friends to cash the check.
The incident drew comparisons to the 1989 film "Weekend at Bernie's," a comedy in which two men dressed up their dead boss and paraded his corpse around the Hamptons.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@times
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