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Homeless man charged in connection with Forest Park murder: NYPD

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A homeless man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 23-year-old man in Forest Park in Woodhaven earlier this month, the NYPD said.

The suspect, identified as Zoltan Forai, 44, was arrested and charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Police spotted Forai 10 days after the crime occurred, allegedly drinking beer on Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue in Glendale, less than a mile from the crime scene, Brown said.

“The victim was brutally kicked and bashed in the head with a rock,” Brown said. “The defendant has shown a total disregard for life and if convicted should be locked behind bars to keep the public safe and to punish him for this senseless crime.”

Sometime between June 8 and June 9, Forai is said to have repeatedly kicked Diego Piedrahita, a Flushing resident, about his head and body and then used a rock to strike him in the face and head multiple times, causing multiple skull fractures, according to the criminal complaint filed by Brown.

Piedrahita was found unconscious and unresponsive with trauma to his head in the vicinity of Park Lane South and Woodhaven Boulevard at about 3:26 p.m. June 10, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, ruled the manner of death a homicide and said the cause of death was blunt impacts to the head with skull fractures.

On June 19 at about 4:02 p.m., Forai was allegedly seen drinking a 24-ounce can of Keystone Ice beer on a public sidewalk, according to the complaint. A marijuana cigarette was allegedly recovered from Forai’s right front pants pocket, it said.

He was charged with public consumption of alcohol and unlawful possession of marijuana, the complaint said.

Forai, who allegedly shaved his beard to disguise himself from looking like the bearded suspect wanted for questioning in Piedrahita’s death, was re-arrested hours later on murder charges, according to Brown.

Officials had described Forai, also known as Stephen Forai, as white, about 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and a beard. They also said he possibly frequented the Bandshell and Victory Field areas in Forest Park.

Forai was arraigned Saturday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Bruna DiBiase. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court July 2.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Posted 12:00 am, June 26, 2015
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