By Peter Sorkin
A Ridgewood man was arrested Jan 24 and charged with murder after allegedly stabbing his mother's friend to death after a dispute in his Forest Avenue home, police said.
Luis Perez, 19, of 63-46 Forest Ave., allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and repeatedly stabbed Juanita Hernandez, 43, in the apartment home the three shared, said Officer Ralph Smith, a Police Department spokesman. Hernandez was declared dead at the scene, Smith said.
He said the cause of the altercation was unclear and was still being investigated, but it was Perez who called the police after stabbing Hernandez.
The alleged weapon was also recovered at the scene, Smith said.
Perez, who has no prior criminal record, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, said Betsy Herzog, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney's office. Perez faces up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts, Herzog said.
Residents and neighbors on the quiet residential street were in disbelief days after the murder.
Hilda Horn, who lives a few doors from where the killing took place said she did not know the family well but would frequently see Hernandez, Perez and his mother on the street.
“I would see them in passing from time to time and say hello,” Horn said. “The kid was nice. I think he may have gotten into trouble before.”
Horn said the murder was an isolated incident and was shocked that it occurred so close to her home. She also sympathized with the mother, whose name was not released.
“It's surprising to hear about it on your block,” she said. “I feel bad about it, especially the mother. Her son is now charged with murder and she is without her lover.”
Lisa Bederman, who has lived in the neighborhood for two years, said she never knew of any problems in the household while living next door to Perez. She was, however, saddened to hear of the death.
“It's a shame someone had to die, but this incident was obviously a very personal one,” Bederman said. “It's too bad, really. It's a real shame.”
Reach reporter Peter Sorkin by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.