Jamaica man indicted for strangling girlfriend, then burning her body

A grand jury has indicted a 27-year-old Jamaica man for murder and arson in the October 2015 death of his 28-year-old girlfriend whose remains were found burned in the bathroom of their shared apartment.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendant as Carlos Pineda, who is charged in an eight-count indictment with second-degree murder, second-degree arson, first-degree reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence.

Between Oct. 16 and 17, 2015, prosecutors said, Pineda allegedly strangled his live-in girlfriend, Miriam Lucrecia Samayoa Veliz, 28, to death. Video surveillance allegedly caught Pineda leaving the apartment building just after 3 a.m. on Oct. 17, and returning 20 minutes later with what was subsequently identified as a red gasoline container.

Pineda was allegedly observed on the surveillance video leaving the building a second time at 3:53 a.m. A 911 call reporting a fire at the location came minutes later. First responders discovered Veliz’s burned remains in the bathtub.

Pineda was apprehended in Florida and later extradited back to Queens as a result of an investigation that the 103rd Precinct, with the assistance of the Queens District Attorney’s office, conducted. 

“This was a heinous crime,” Brown added. “If convicted, the defendant will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

The suspect remains in jail without bail and is scheduled to return to court on March 10, 2016. If convicted, Pineda could serve 25 years to life behind bars.

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