By Howard Koplowitz
A Bayside bar owner from Richmond Hill was charged Saturday in the murders of a Howard Beach man and an Ozone Park resident in a northern New Jersey town in killings that are believed to be drug-related, the Bergen County prosecutor’s office said.
At around 7 a.m. last Thursday, the Teaneck Police Department received a 911 call from a resident at 190 Oakdene Ave. who discovered the two men, Jonathan Beneduce, 28, of Howard Beach and Michael Mirasola, 27, of Ozone Park, the office said.
Teaneck Police arrived on the scene and found the two men inside a black Ford Explorer with apparent multiple gunshot wounds, the prosecutor’s office said.
“He was a wonderful person with a great, big heart,” said a woman who answered the phone at Mirasola’s home Friday. She abruptly hung up.
Nicholas Kiriakakis, 25, of Richmond Hill, allegedly met Beneduce and Mirasola somewhere in Queens last Thursday and the three drove to Teaneck, N.J., in two separate cars — Kiriakis in one vehicle and Beneduce and Mirasola in the other, the prosecutor’s office said.
The prosecutor’s office said the reason the three traveled to Teaneck was related to a drug deal, but Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said that aspect of the killing was under investigation.
Searches at Kiriakakis’ home, car and bar, Pearl Nightlife at 45-30 Bell Blvd., turned up two simulated handguns, a stun gun and illegal prescription drugs, the prosecutor’s office said.
Beneduce and Mirasola were good friends, the prosecutor’s office said, and Kiriakakis was an acquaintance of the two men.
Kiriakakis was charged Saturday with murder and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose before Judge Harry Carroll, who set bail at $3 million, the prosecutor’s office said.
Kiriakakis was also charged by the New York Police Department with criminal possession of a weapon, possession of prescription ledger drugs without a prescription and being a fugitive from justice.
A reporter was turned away from Beneduce’s home on 79th Street in Howard Beach.
Both Beneduce and Mirasola were single, lived with their parents and were unemployed, the Bergen County prosecutor’s office said.
An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.