By Adam Kramer
A borough resident has pleaded guilty to the 1998 murder of a 13-year-old teenager inside her home in the Pomonok Houses, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Monday.
Joseph Oates, 21, of Queens entered a guilty plea to murder in the second degree in the stabbing death of Charise Gardner. The crime took place inside her family’s apartment in the Pomonok Houses near Kissena Boulevard and across from Queens College in Flushing.
“The young victim, Charise Gardner, trusted the defendant to allow him into her apartment for a drink of water and ended up paying with her life,” said Brown. “No parent should ever have to live through the horror of losing a child — this one a victim of such a heinous crime. The defendant will now go away for a very long time.”
Oates, who was on patrol for a drug conviction at the time of the crime, will be sentenced to 25 years to life by State Supreme Court Justice Stanley Katz on Dec. 12.
According to the DA’s office, Gardner had met Oates only a few days before he took her life on Jan. 3, 1998. Betsy Herzog, a spokeswoman for the Queens DA, said on the day of the murder Oates had met the teen at a neighborhood pizza parlor after she had left school for the day.
Oates then walked Gardner home and asked her for a drink of water, so she invited the 21-year-old inside, Herzog said. Once in the apartment, Oates went into the kitchen and took two knives while Gardner sat eating her pizza in another room, she said.
Oates grabbed Gardner and began to repeatedly punch the girl in the face and attempted to strangle her. Herzog said he then proceeded to throw Gardner to the floor, sat on her back so she could not move and began to stab the teen, which eventually caused her death.
After the attack, Oates fled the scene only to return a short while later to steal two television cable boxes, the DA’s spokeswoman said.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.