Woman found guilty in Astoria Park slay

Gabriel Vargas holds a photo of his brother Ruben Vargas, who was killed in Astoria Park
TimesLedger Newspapers
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ASTORIA — A transient Astoria woman was convicted of murder and other charges after a six-week jury trial for attacking a 32-year-old man at Astoria Park in 2010, the Queens district attorney said.

Kelly Harnett, 32, spent nights camping out with her boyfriend, 34-year-old Thomas Donovan, inside the park, where the duo killed Astorian Ruben Angel Vargas in July 2010, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Prosecutors accused Harnett of repeatedly kicking Vargas in the head and torso while Donovan choked him, Brown said, ultimately leading to his death before they fled.

“This was a senseless crime in which an innocent victim was robbed of his life,” Brown said. “Justice will only be served — and society protected — when the defendant, like her co-defendant, is given a lengthy prison sentence to punish her for such a wanton act of violence.”

Harnett now faces up to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted last week of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak.

Donovan already pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August 2010 and was sentenced later that month to 15 years in prison, Brown said.

Updated 12:36 am, October 18, 2013
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