Man slays wife in front of kids: Cops

Ahmed Ally brushes away tears outside the home where a woman was killed in South Richmond Hill. Ally says he is friendly with the woman's stepfather. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Three young children saw their mother murdered by her estranged husband in South Richmond Hill Sunday, sources said.

Police said they responded to an assault call just before 1 a.m. at a single-family home on 117th Street, where they found 32-year-old Diane Sharma dead from multiple stab wounds.

Oscar Novakovsky, 37, of 103-24 121st St., was arrested and charged with murder and acting in a manner injurious to a child, police said.

A woman claiming to be the victim’s aunt said Sharma was seeking a divorce from Novakovsky, though he had been staying at her home for the past three days.

“Her husband killed her,” said the relative.

She said Sharma’s children, two sons and a daughter, witnessed the alleged murder. Sharma and her children lived in the house with her mother and father, with whom she immigrated to the United States — along with a brother — from Guyana 10 years ago, the aunt said.

Investigators shuffled in and out of the house throughout the dark, cold hours of the morning, and in the daylight neighbors remembered the woman who lived a normally quiet life, except when loud arguments could be heard coming from her home.

One neighbor, who wished not to be identified, said Sharma worked as a certified nursing assistant at the Amsterdam Nursing Home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“She was very quiet and kept to herself. She was very hardworking and I didn’t see her much because of her job,” the neighbor said. “When she wasn’t at the job, she was spending time with her children, taking them to school or the store or the park.”

Ahmed Ally, 52, said he knew Sharma’s family from back home, and that many people in the Guyanese community have heard about the stabbing.

“So many phone calls I got this morning,” he said.

Several neighbors said they often heard the couple arguing loudly, but did not suspect it would become deadly.

“Every couple’s going to argue. It’s tough. You don’t put that much into it,” said one man who did not want to be identified. “I used to be married. I’d be lying through my teeth if I said we didn’t get into arguments.”

The neighbor said he watched out his window as police cars filled the street for hours.

“Once I saw the medical examiner go in, I knew it wasn’t good,” he said.

The NYPD said the investigation was still ongoing.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 6:56 pm, January 18, 2012
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