2012-09-12 / Front Page

Teen Pleads Self Defense In Queens Brother Slay

By LIZ GOFF

A lawyer for Yocairis Diaz told a judge at the teen’s arraignment that the 17-year-old plunged a knife in the neck of her 20-year-old brother after he came at her with a heavy chain wrapped around his knuckles.


“He took a dog leash or other heavy chain, wrapped it around his knuckles and proceeded to strike her or attempt to strike her,” Diaz’ lawyer, Spiro Ferris said. “The deceased was continually and constantly beating on her.”


A criminal complaint states Diaz and her brother, Frank Fortuna engaged in a violent argument at about 6 p.m. on September 7, on the first floor of the family home in Woodhaven after Fortuna wrongly accused Diaz of stealing his cellphone.


The dispute turned deadly when Diaz pulled a knife and plunged it into Fortuna’s neck, mortally wounding him. Diaz fled the home after the fatal stabbing, the criminal complaint states.


Fortuna was taken to Jamaica Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival, fire officials said.


Police found Diaz a short while later, hiding out at a friend’s home. She was arrested on numerous charges, including murder and criminal possession of a weapon.


Diaz watched intently from the defense table as prosecutors presented their case at her arraignment on September 8 at Queens Criminal Court, where they described her as a flight risk and requested she be remanded without bail to Rikers Island.


The teen shook her bright red hair in denial at each statement made to the court by prosecutors, and briefly turned to look back at family members present at the arraignment.
When the judge ordered her held without bail, Diaz wrestled and tried to break free from court officers who escorted her out of the Kew Gardens courtroom.


Family members told reporters gathered outside the courtroom that Fortuna constantly beat and abused Diaz, and the teen “was just tired” of the abuse.


“She had enough,” a shaken family member said. “She just couldn’t take it anymore.”

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