By Karen Frantz
An Ozone Park man who was charged in the 2010 shooting death of a teenager outside a Richmond Hill bar was found guilty of murder by a jury in Queens Supreme Court Friday.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown hailed the conviction as justice for the teenage victim, 19-year-old Christian O’Hara, of Laurelton.
“The jury’s verdict is a measure of justice for an innocent young man whose life was tragically cut short,” Brown said.
He also said the defendant, Miguel Viruet, 37, faced a lengthy prison sentence for “senseless gunplay” and pointed to the case as a reason for needing stricter gun control.
“[It] underscores our need to be vigilant in keeping illegal guns off the streets of our county and out of the hands of those intent on violently attacking others,” Brown said.
Viruet was convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
His sentencing is set for Jan. 8, when he faces 25 years to life in prison.
Brown said that according to testimony at the jury trial, which began Nov. 26, O’Hara died after Viruet fired nine shots at a group of people, including O’Hara, who were standing in front of Scooby’s Bar, at 118-07 Atlantic Ave., in the early morning of May 5, 2010.
Brown said testimony revealed Viruet was apparently angry after his brother called him and said an unknown person had punched him in the face while he was standing outside the bar earlier in the morning.
The DA said trial testimony charged that Viruet drove to the bar with two other people and demanded to know from the bar’s bouncer the identity of the person who assailed his brother. The bouncer told him the brother was drunk, had been hit outside of the bar and was not allowed inside, according to testimony. Brown said testimony revealed Viruet left the bar but later returned and fired the shots into the crowd.
O’Hara was hit in the lower torso and killed, according to trial testimony.
The teenager’s grandmother, Maima, was the owner of Maima’s Liberian Bistro & Bar, at 106-47 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in South Jamaica.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.