Homeless man gets 15 years in prison for fatally beating a man with a rock in Forest Park

Zoltan (Steven) Forai (inset) is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for fatally beating a man in Forest Park last year.
Photo courtesy of Project Woodhaven/Inset courtesy of NYPD

A formerly homeless man is now spending the next 15 years in a jail cell for bludgeoning a man to death with a rock following an argument in Forest Park last year.

Zoltan (a.k.a. Steven) Forai, 45, plead guilty on June 30 to first-degree manslaughter for the June 2015 killing of Diego Piedrahita, 23, whose body was found a week after his death in the vicinity of Park Lane South and Woodhaven Boulevard. Forai was sentenced Wednesday to serve 15 years in prison and five years’ probation.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Forai and Piedrahita, who resided on Booth Memorial Avenue in Flushing, were known to each other and got into a fight sometime between June 8 and 9, 2015. Prosecutors said Forai kicked Piedrahita in the head and body, then picked up a rock and smashed him in the face and head multiple times.

The deadly beating triggered a massive search and increased security in the days after Piedrahita’s body was discovered. Forai, whom police had identified as a person of interest in the case, was spotted on June 19 drinking beer at the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue.

Prosecutors said Forai had shaved his beard in order to avoid looking like the bearded version of himself which was featured in a photograph that police issued. He was initially arrested for drinking in public before being charged with Piedrahita’s death.

“By his actions, [Forai] showed a total disregard for human life, and the sentence meted out by the court is justified to keep the public safe and to punish him for this senseless crime,” Brown said.

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