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Elmhurst teen arraigned on charges he killed Woodhaven man

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The Elmhurst teen accused of fatally stabbing a Woodhaven man in the Forest Park J subway station as the victim came to the aid of his brother was arraigned on murder and other charges last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Benjamin Moreira, 19, of 40-45 Elbertson St. in Elmhurst, was arraigned last week on charges of murder, manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon before Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald, Brown said.

“This senseless stabbing has robbed a young man of his life and his family of his companions­hip,” Brown said of the murder of 27-year-old Dario Paiva, who was intent on transferring from Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn to Queens College so he could be closer to his brother, Khristian, whom he tried to protect July 30 when he was murdered.

Khristian was being accosted by a group of men, including one who was holding a knife, when Dario confronted the men, the DA said.

Dario Paiva was stabbed on the platform of the J train station at Jamaica Avenue and 85th Street and later died at Queens Hospital Center.

Moreira faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of Paiva’s murder, the DA said.

“The defendant will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Brown said.

Khristian Paiva said his brother was family-oriented and known as a trusting friend. He said he recognized the group of men from the neighborhood, but had never spoken to them.

“He helped everyone out, even if it was 4 in the morning,” he said. “If somebody came and knocked on his door, he was always there to help. He always helped his family.”

Paiva’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Firpo, was five weeks pregnant at the time of the slaying, she said.

Dario’s mother said her son’s murder has devastated the family, noting the clan lost another brother, Dante Paiva, four years ago in a car accident.

“I can’t even express,” Norma Paiva said of the pain. “This is so painful because we lost two brothers. There’s so much pain and emptiness. It’s a pain that I can’t describe.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 6:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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