By Rebecca Henely
A Queens Supreme Court jury found a young Elmhurst man guilty Friday in the 2010 fatal stabbing of a Woodhaven man defending his brother on the J train platform at the 85th Street-Forest Parkway station, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Benjamin Moreira, 21, of Elbertson Street near Britton Avenue in Elmhurst, had punched now-20-year-old Khristian Paiva July 30, 2010, with a group of other young people before Khristian Paiva’s brother, 27-year-old Dario Paiva, came to his aid, the DA said. Moreira stabbed the protective older brother in the chest, and Dario Paiva died at Queens Hospital Center shortly thereafter, the DA said.
After a two-week trial before Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak, Moreira was found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon, the DA said. His crimes could put him behind bars for up to 26 years and four months, the DA said.
“This senseless stabbing has robbed a young man of his life and his family of his companionship,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “Such a vicious act of violence demonstrates that this defendant is a threat to society and deserving of a lengthy prison sentence.”
Dario Paiva had been at home in Woodhaven at 11:30 p.m. July 30 when his mother, Norma Paiva, said she had just gotten off the phone with Khristian Paiva and heard noises on the other end of the line that indicated his brother could be in trouble, the DA said. Dario Paiva met up with his brother a few minutes later, finding him on the platform of the subway at Jamaica Avenue and 85th Street, the DA said. He spoke to Benjamin Moreira briefly before the attack, the DA said.
Dario Paiva had been attending Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn at the time of his death but was due to transfer to Queens College so he could go to school with Khristian Paiva. He left behind not only his family members but a girlfriend, Elizabeth Firpo, who was five weeks pregnant at the time of his death. The Paiva family had lost another son, Dante Paiva, in 2006 to a car accident.
“He helped everyone out, even if it was 4 in the morning,” Khristian Paiva said shortly after Dario Paiva’s death. “If somebody came and knocked on his door, he was always there to help. He always helped his family.”
Moreira’s sentencing date is Jan. 27.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.