Today’s news:

Lefrak City worker’s killer gets 18 to life

A Corona man who was a high school student when he killed a Lefrak City electrician four years ago was sentenced last week to 18 years to life in prison, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

John Richardson, 20, was a freshman at John Bowne High School in Flushing when he helped rob Andrey Kovalenko, 36, outside the electrician's residence at 97-15 Horace Harding Expwy. Nov. 14, 2004, Brown said.

At 4 a.m., Richardson and two other teens attacked Kovalenko during the robbery attempt, shooting him seven times in the head, Brown said. Kovelenko, who had a wife and young son, died in the hospital a few hours later.

Richardson was convicted of second-degree murder and attempted robbery at a trial in January, the DA's office said. He admitted to detectives that he was involved in the shooting, according to a criminal complaint filed against him by the DA's office.

The other defendants, gunman Jordan Smith and Joshua Ryles, pleaded guilty last year and given prison sentences of 21 years to life and 22 years to life, respectively, Brown said.

"The defendant will now spend much of his young life in prison for the fatal shooting of someone who was simply minding his own business," Brown said in a statement. "Such random violence will not be tolerated."

Richardson was arrested the day after the shooting when police identified him from a surveillance camera that recorded the incident, the DA's office said. Smith and Ryles were arrested the next month, police said.

Richardson spent four years in jail because he waived his right to a speedy trial, a spokeswoman for Brown said, noting he was remanded without bail.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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