3 murders distress 103rd Pct.

By Bryan Schwartzman

A man was found dead in his car outside 108-44 164th St. in Jamaica last Thursday night for the third homicide within a week in the 103rd Precinct, police said.

Police were still searching for suspects in each of the three homicides. Police sources said the murders were not related and that they believe the incidents represented a short-term spike in the homicide rate.

Taheem Campbell, 31, of LindenHurst, L.I., was found at 11:55 p.m. shot twice in the head and four times in the body, said Detective George Nagy. Another police source said the incident was probably drug-related.

Police were still investigating the Jan. 29 death of Mildred Bynoe, 72, in Hollis and the Jan. 30 killing of Isham Speights, 28, in South Jamaica.

A fourth death, that of Rickey Boodhoo, 25, on Jan. 31 was ruled a suicide, but according to Newsday, the family believes Boodhoo was murdered and detectives were still considering the possibility.

“There is no pattern to these murders,” Inspector Dan Mullin, commander of the 103rd Precinct, told the community council meeting Monday night. “It's not as if we are having a drug war and they all occurred at different parts of the precinct.”

Mullin said that for the month of January, the precinct's overall crime rate dropped more than 20 percent from year-earlier levels. He said up through Feb. 8 there had been three murders so far this year compared with two in the same span last year.

Apparently satisfied, community members present at the meeting did not press the inspector further on the possible causes of the surge in murders.

But Donna Clapton, the President of the 113th Community Precinct Council, said the impact of the recent homicides should not be downplayed.

“This leaves us very concerned,” she said.

Clapton said she wondered why the community did not seem alarmed.

In 1999 there were 19 murders in the 103rd Precinct, three more than in the previous year. Yet overall crime fell by 2.6 percent, according to NYPD statistics.

Murder rates rose citywide in 1999, but the increase was greatest in Queens South precincts, where there was a 40 percent rise in homicides last year, according to the Police Department. Queens South covers the 100, 101, 102, 103,105,106,107, and 113th precincts.

“Any fatality we don't like to hear about,” said Jamaica resident Manuel Kaughman after Tuesday night's council meeting. He said he was not particularly worried because none of the murders took place near his home on 110th Avenue.

Dan Sheridan, a precinct beat officer, said crime in the 103rd was a major problem as recently as the early 1990s, but generally he viewed the Jamaica area as a much safer place. He has been with the precinct since 1994.

Assistant Chief Joe Fox, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South, said in an interview the precinct would be stepping up the crackdown on the narcotics trade in the community.

He said while he did not think the murders were indicative of an upward tend, “they are obviously devastating to the victim and family members.”

Councilman Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans) said just because there have been significant drops in crime does not mean crimes are not occurring.

“You always have to be careful,” he said, “but you have to go about your business without fear.”

On Jan. 29, Bynoe was found dead in her home at 191-20 102nd Ave., according to Detective John Giammarino. He said a 20-inch television was missing from the home and police were still investigating the incident.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office, said the cause of death was blunt injuries to the face and head.

Speights was found dead at 1:52 a.m. at 89-02 162nd Ave. Jan. 30 with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, said Officer Kevin Tyrell.

Borakove said the cause of Speights' death was a gunshot wound to the torso with a perforation of the lungs and liver.