Thursday, February 25, 2010

Richmond Hill Man Arrested in NJ Double Homicide

Victims are from Howard Beach and Ozone Park

By Patricia Adams

A Queens bar owner was arrested on Saturday and charged with two counts of Murder, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose after a homicide investigation conducted by New Jersey law enforcement officials.

Nicholas D. Kiriakakis, 25, of Richmond Hill, was charged in the shooting deaths of two other men from Queens. Jonathan Beneduce of Howard Beach and Michael Mirasola from Ozone Park were shot and killed in their vehicle on Wednesday while parked on a residential street in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Police officials say Kiriakakis met with both victims in Queens and that the three men then drove to Teaneck in separate vehicles. The alleged killer drove his own vehicle, with the two friends driving a 2007 Ford Explorer.

Police are investigating the reasons that the three men travelled to the location. Multiple searches conducted at the Kiriakakis’ residence, his place of business at Pearl, a restaurant/bar on Bell Blvd, and his vehicle resulted in theseizure of two simulated handguns, a stun gun, and illegally obtained prescription drugs.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said the three men headed to New Jersey around 7:30 pm and that there is no evidence to show that anyone else was involved in the double murders. The prosecutor also said that law enforcement is investigating the possibility that the incident was tied to a drug transaction. Molinelli told reporters however, that no drugs were found on either or the victims or in their SUV.

The distraught father of one of the victims, Nick Beneduce, told The Forum that he was unable to comment on the case because of a request from police not to comment during the ongoing investigation.

Bail for Kiriakakis was set at $3 million. He was also charged by the NYPD with Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Possession of Prescription Ledger Drugs without a Prescription, and with being a Fugitive from Justice for the Bergen County charges. He is currently being held in the Queens Detention Center awaiting extradition to New Jersey.

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