Manhattan man sentenced in 1990 Forest Hills murder

By Philip Newman

A 60-year-old Manhattan man has been sentenced to 25 years to life for fatally shooting a motorist in the back of the head more than a quarter century ago.

District Attorney Richard Brown identified the defendant as Kevin Smith, formerly of Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Smith was sentenced by Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lesak.

Brown said that, according to trial testimony, the defendant was sitting in the back of a Dodge station wagon being driven by Frank Vesak, 45, on Feb. 8, 1990. A third man, David Hammerstone, 47, sat in the front seat passenger seat.

“Moments after Vesak pulled over on the westbound shoulder of the Grand Central Parkway near 68th Avenue, the defendant fired a single shot that penetrated the driver’s head,” Brown said.

Smith then fired several more times, striking the victim’s skull, brain, spine and lungs, injuries from which he died, Brown said.

Brown said Hammerstone also shot the victim and in October 2016, Hammerstone pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter and is serving four to 12 years.

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