Thursday, August 21, 2008

Man Strangled During Rent Money Dispute

Richmond Hill Man Charged in Death

by Conor Greene

A man has been charged with strangling his roommate over rent money during an altercation in South Ozone Park, authorities announced this week.

The incident occurred around noon Saturday when the victim, Rae Chisolm, 38, returned to the first-floor apartment at 117-15 124th Street. He had allegedly stolen his roommates’ rent money several weeks ago before fleeing the apartment, and had returned to collect his personal belongings.

He was let back inside the apartment by his two roommates, who were inside the flat with a friend, Rami Hawana, of 104-56 93rd Avenue in Richmond Hill. The men became involved in a fight over the money, which the roommates accused Chisolm of taking weeks prior. During the altercation, Hawana, 22, strangled Chisolm to death, according to authorities.

Hawana, who reportedly studies literature at SUNY Purchase, was arraigned last Sunday in Queens Criminal Court on second-degree murder charges and ordered held on $750,000 bail, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. He was due back in court this Thursday, August 21.

“The defendant, a friend of one of the roommates, allegedly placed the victim in a chokehold to separate him from one of the roommates,” causing Chisolm’s death, according to a spokesman for DA Brown.

A neighbor told the Daily News that Chisolm had returned to the apartment only to find the locks had been changed. He was let inside by one of the roommates before the fatal struggle ensued. The neighbor described Chisolm as a “decent” and “friendly” man who previously worked as a car salesman.

Hawana’s father was quoted in the newspaper as saying, “I feel terrible” at the family’s Richmond Hill house. On Tuesday, Hawana’s attorney, Robert Lucks, declined to comment on the charges, other to say that his client remains in jail pending his next court hearing.

Photo: Rami Hawana is led from a precinct stationhouse by detectives after being arrested on second-degree murder charges.
The Forum Newsgroup/ photo by ROBERT STRIDIRON

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