Suspect Indicted for 1980 Murder

Flushing Man Booked For Unsolved Strangling

A Queens man has been indicted for strangling to death a 73-year-old Flushing man in his own home in September 1980, it was announced.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendant as Ernest Mattison, 49, formerly of Kissena Boulevard in Flushing. Mattison was arraigned last Tuesday, Mar. 20, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter on a two-count indictment charging him with the crime of second-degree murder.

Mattison, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted, was ordered held without bail and to return to court on Apr. 5.

“The defendant is accused of strangling a man to death in his own home and eluding justice for more than three decades,” Brown said. “However, the diligence of police and prosecutors in pursuing this case over the years means that he will now be held accountable for this crime.”

According to the charges, the body of Cecil Schiff was found by his wife inside his home located on Franklin Avenue in Flushing sitting in a chair and bleeding from the head on Sept. 10, 1980. It is alleged that their bedroom had been ransacked and jewelry and other valuables were missing.

Despite Schiff’s apparent head wound, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death as strangulation. It is alleged that fingerprints retrieved from a jewelry box at the scene were recently matched to Mattison.

The District Attorney’s Office requests that any relatives of the victim or anyone with information about the victim’s death to call the District Attorney’s Office at 1-718-286-5866.

Assistant District Attorney Jack Warsawsky, deputy chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Trials Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Brad A. Leventhal and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Charles A. Testagrossa and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.

It was noted that an indictment is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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