Sunday, July 5, 2009

Woodhaven Writer Choked By Bandits - Murdered As He Slept In Vehicle by Robert Pozarycki | Times Newsweekly

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Two teenagers were arrested last week and charged in connection with the robbery and strangling death of a 49-yearold Woodhaven journalist who was killed while sleeping inside a double-parked car in Flushing, it was announced.

Law enforcement sources identified the suspects as Chris Levy, 17, of Harlem and Cory Azor, 16, of East Elmhurst, who allegedly murdered and robbed David Kao, 49, of 76th Street in Woodhaven early on the morning of Saturday, June 6.

A third individual—Kevon Wilthshire, 17, of Corona—was apprehended with them last Monday, June 8, after police found him operating the victim's vehicle, which was reportedly stolen by the two other suspects.

All three individuals were previously arrested for robbing a 42-yearold man inside a Flushing apartment on the night of May 27, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown stated.

"While all three defendants are accused of preying on Asian men to rob, two of [them] are charged with a senseless and brutal crime that, by their own alleged actions, shows a complete disregard for human life," Brown said in a press release. "This case will be vigorously prosecuted."

According to law enforcement sources, the murder occurred at around 1 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, as Kao—a reporter with the Chinese language newspaper World Journal—slept inside a 2000 Lexus SUV that was parked in front of a home on Colden Street between Franklin and Cherry avenues.

Reportedly, Levy and Azor entered the vehicle and placed the victim in a chokehold, eventually pulling him over the driver's seat into the rear. There they continued to choke and punch the victim about his body until he was dead.

Prosecutors said the two teens al- legedly drove the Lexus to a location in the vicinity of Barclay Avenue and 147th Avenue, where they dumped Kao's body. The suspects then fled from the scene in the SUV.

Members of the 109th Precinct apprehended Levy, Azor and Wilthshire on June 8 in Flushing, inside the vehicle registered to Kao. During a search, the victim's wallet and credit cards were found in the suspects' possession.

Regarding the May 25 robbery in Flushing, law enforcement sources said the three teenagers allegedly confronted and mugged a 42-year-old man at around 8:50 p.m. inside an elevator at an apartment house on Ash Avenue.

Reportedly, Wilthshire grabbed the victim from behind and placed him in a chokehold while Levy held a silver pistol to the man's head and demanded cash. Police said the three teens allegedly removed a cell phone and wallet before fleeing from the scene in an unknown direction.

Prosecutors noted that the phone was later discarded by Wilthshire, who allegedly told detectives that he didn't like the device.

Levy and Azor were charged with second-degree murder, first- and second degree robbery and third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Wilthshire was booked on first- and second-degree robbery and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

They were each arraigned in Queens Criminal Court last Wednesday, June 10, according to court records. Levy and Azor were remanded without bail, while Wilthshire was ordered held in custody on $75,000 bail.

The three are scheduled to return to court on June 25. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years to life in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Suzanne D. O'Hare of the D.A.'s Homicide Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Peter T. Reese, bureau chief, and Peter J. McCormack III, deputy bureau chief.