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Murders rise in 115th Pct.

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The murder rate in New York City is on track to reach historic lows, but homicides in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Corona are on the rise. The 110th and 115th precincts, which oversee the territory between the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Long Island Expressway, Van Wyck Expressway and Long Island Sound, had more murders this year than last, but rates were still in the single digits.

Nearly all other major index crimes were down in the two precincts. The 115th had an overall drop of 8.8 percent, though it saw a 15 percent uptick in felony assaults this year. The 110th was down 13.5 percent for the year, with grand larceny down 18.7 percent and robbery down 16.1 percent.

The 110th had five homicides through Dec. 27 compared with three homicides for the same period last year. The 115th had seven homicides through Dec. 27 compared with four during the same period in 2008.

Citywide there were 416 murders compared with 567 for the same stretch of 2008, a 10.3 percent decline.

Most memorable among the crimes in the two Queens precincts were the murders of Edna Herrarte and her 14-year-old son, Daniel, who were found stabbed to death in a closet in their Corona apartment Nov. 21.

Otto Herrarte, Edna’s husband and Daniel’s father, allegedly told a co-worker that he had killed them and later explained to investigators that an alternate identity, Roberto, committed the act. Otto Herrarte was initially charged with two counts of murder and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He was due back in court to face a grand jury indictment Jan. 5, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Also in Corona, two young men, Juan Gonzalez and Edgar Fernandez, were shot dead on 39th Avenue in an apparent ambush while coming home from a bar early in the morning April 9. Police were still looking for the killer in that case.

But the two precincts’ murder stats were fairly low in comparison with precincts in southeast Queens. Some 11 people died by another’s hand in the 103rd Precinct; nine died in the 105th Precinct and 12 were killed in the 113th.

The city Police Department monitors homicide, rape, felony assault, robbery, grand larceny and auto theft.

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

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