2016-08-17 / Front Page

15 Years For Forest Park Beating Death

By Liz Goff

A 45-year-old homeless man pleaded guilty on June 30 to the fatal bludgeoning of a 23-year-old man found dead last summer in Forest Park.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Zoltan Forai, also known as Steven Forai, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the brutal death of Diego Piedrahita, whose body was discovered by a passerby in Forest Park on June 10, 2015, in a wooded area near Park Lane and Woodhaven Boulevard.
Forai was sentenced to a determinate term of 15 years in prison and five years of post-release supervision, Brown said.
According to charges filed in a criminal complaint, police spotted Forai on the day of the murder at Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue, drinking a can of beer. The officers arrested Forai for drinking in public and he was released a short while later, according to the complaint.
Forai, who had shaved his beard to avoid any resemblance to a bearded suspect wanted for questioning in the murder, was re-arrested hours later in connection with the Forest Park homicide, Brown said.
The complaint states that Forai and Piedrahita were acquainted, and that between June 8 and June 9, 2015, Forai kicked Piedrahita in the head and body, and then struck him multiple times in the face and head with a rock.
Piedrahita suffered multiple skull fractures in the attack and was declared dead at the scene, Brown said.
Police sources said investigators found a trail of blood leading to the body, suggesting Piedrahita may have tried to flee Forai. Police recovered a blood-soaked tree branch near the body, the sources said.
Police said Forai frequented the bandshell area of Forest Park, as well as Victory Field.
“The defendant has admitted to having kicked and used a rock to brutally beat to death a 23-year-old acquaintance in Forest Park,” Brown said. “By his actions, the defendant showed a total disregard for human life and the sentence meted out by the court is justified to keep the public safe and to punish him for this senseless crime.”


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