He’s Guilty of Fatal Beating

Homeless Vagrant Killed L.I.C. Man

Jurors convicted last week a homeless man who formerly resided at a Long Island City shelter guilty of killing a Dutch Kills man who tried to stop the suspect from assaulting a neighbor on his block in September 2008, law enforcement sources said.

Eric Cherry, 47, who was previously a resident of the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence at 21-10 Borden Ave., was found guilty last Monday, Apr. 23, of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault following a three-week trial presided by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak.

Sentencing for Cherry is scheduled to take place on June 6; he faces up to 25 years behind bars for the death of Nicholas Nowillo, 65, of Crescent Street during the Sept. 3, 2008 assault.

“[Cherry] stands convicted of a particularly brutal and senseless assault of a man who had come to the aid of his neighbor,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement. “[The victim’s] family must now cope with the difficult task of adjusting to a life empty of the presence of a husband, father and grandfather. [Cherry’s] actions clearly show that he is a threat to society and deserving of a maximum prison sentence.”

According to the charges, the trouble began at around 10:40 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2008, when Nowillo was asked by a female neighbor to come outside of his home on Crescent Street near 39th Avenue. Reportedly, the woman spotted Cherry moments earlier hanging around and staring at her as she exited her vehicle.

Law enforcement sources said Nowillo spotted Cherry banging and kicking his car, which was parked in front of his home. When Nowillo told the defendant to leave, authorities noted, Cherry punched him several times, then threw him to the ground.

After Nowillo was knocked down, police noted, Cherry punched and kicked multiple times, then fled from the scene on foot.

Members of the 114th Precinct and EMS units responded to the scene. Nowillo, who had suffered nine fractured ribs and blunt trauma, died a short time later at Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens.

Cherry was reportedly caught by police several blocks away and was initially charged with felony assault. He was later booked on manslaughter charges and has been in jail since his arraignment on Sept. 6, 2008.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Shawn Clark of the D.A.’s Homicide Trials Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Brad Leventhal, bureau chief, and Jack Warsawsky, deputy bureau chief.

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