Ozone Park man sentenced for youth’s murder

Photo courtesy NYPD
By Karen Frantz

An Ozone Park man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the shooting death of a 19-year-old youth who was standing outside a Richmond Hill bar in 2010, the Queens district attorney said Tuesday.

DA Richard Brown said the sentence was justice for the teenage victim, Christian O’Hara, of Laurelton, whom he described as an innocent young man whose life was tragically cut short.

“Violence such as this will not be tolerated on the streets of Queens County,” Brown said.

He added that the case underscores the need to keep illegal guns off the streets and out of the hands of people intent on committing violent acts against others.

The defendant, Miguel Viruet, 37, was found guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon by a jury in Queens Supreme Court in December.

During Viruet’s trial, Brown said testimony revealed Viruet fired shots into a group of people standing outside the front of Scooby’s Bar, at 118-07 Atlantic Ave., in the early morning of May 5, 2010.

One of the nine rounds fired hit O’Hara, who was among those in the group, in the lower torso, according to trial testimony. Police said after the shooting O’Hara had been taken to Jamaica Hospital, but once there he was pronounced dead.

Viruet shot into the crowd because he was enraged after learning his brother had been punched in the face while standing outside Scooby’s earlier that morning, Brown said.

According to trial testimony, Brown said, Viruet’s brother called him upset, telling him about the punch thrown by an unknown man. Brown said Viruet then drove to the bar with two other people and tried to determine the identity of his brother’s assailant through the bar’s bouncer, who told Viruet his brother had been hit by someone outside the bar. The bouncer also said the brother was drunk and not allowed inside the bar, Brown said.

Viruet drove away from Scooby’s but later walked back and shot at the crowd of people standing outside the bar from across the street, Brown said testimony revealed.

O’Hara’s grandmother was the owner of the South Jamaican restaurant Maima’s Liberian Bistro & Bar, at 106-47 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. in South Jamaica. At the time of the teen’s death, Maima’s was the only Liberian restaurant in the city.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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