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Queens Village man sentenced to life in prison: DA

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A Queens Village man who was responsible for the death of a Queens teenager and wounding another man in a drug robbery gone wrong in January 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, according to Queens DA Richard Brown.

Jairam Ali Suarez, 26, was convicted by a jury in October of two counts of murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, robbery and attempted robbery, according to the DA.

“There is no place in a civilized society for violence and senseless killing,” said Brown.

The victims were John Pichardo, 19, who was killed and Wilfredo Aponte, 21, who was wounded and lives in Ridgewood, according to trial testimony.

On the night of Jan. 6, 2015 Pichardo and Aponte were parked in front of a house on 150-22 130th St. in South Ozone Park with the intention of selling Suarez one pound of marijuana for $3,000, according to Detective Edward Balfe of the 106th Precinct, who was quoted in a criminal complaint. Instead of going through with the exchange, Suarez climbed into the rear passenger side of the vehicle next to Aponte and demanded to know where the goods were, according to Balfe.

Suarez displayed his gun and shot Aponte in his left leg, also injuring him in the hip and lower torso and causing damage to his femoral artery, according to the criminal complaint.

Pichardo was in the driver’s seat and Suarez fatally shot him in the head, according to Balfe.

Suarez fled the scene without the marijuana, which was recovered from the ground on the passenger side of the vehicle, and Aponte was sent to a nearby hospital, according to the detective.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise, who presided over the trial, sentenced Suarez to 45 years to life in prison after the jury conviction.

“A jury weighed the evidence and found the defendant guilty of committing a cruel and callous act motivated by greed. The court has now sentenced the defendant to a very long term of incarceration that will both punish him and protect society,” Brown said.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, December 6, 2017
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