2016-07-20 / Front Page

Charge Witness Tampering In Astoria Murder

By Liz Goff
A Queens grand jury last week indicted two cousins for conspiring to tamper with a witness in a pending murder trial.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said cousins Samuel Ceruti, 37, of Brooklyn, and Tyrone Ceruti, 39, of Astoria, were arraigned on charges contained in a 12-count indictment, including second-fourth-and fifth-degree conspiracy and third-degree tampering with a witness.

Court papers allege that Samuel Ceruti fatally shot Sean Overton, 42, at the Astoria Houses just after5 p.m. on April 5, 2015. Ceruti has been held without bail since his arraignment on April 7, 2015 on murder and weapons charges, Brown said. Ceruti is facing 25-years to life in prison, if convicted of those charges.

Papers filed in last week’s indictment allege that Samuel Ceruti and Tyrone Ceruti, acting in concert with other unnamed individuals, conspired to commit first-degree murder between May 9, 2015 and June 28, 2016, Brown said.

It is alleged that from his cell at Rikers Island, Samuel Ceruti orchestrated a physical attack on a witness to the Overton murder. by soliciting three men to physically attack the witness – and that Tyrone Ceruti approached the witness after the attack with a warning that he/she should not testify against Samuel Ceruti at his pending murder trial.

Tyrone Ceruti was held in lieu of $1 million bail at his arraignment on June 30. He is facing 12-25 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy charges.

“Prospective witnesses must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony,” Brown said. “This office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”  

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