Astoria man gets 25 years to life for fatally shooting his friend while walking through a local park

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An Astoria man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars for murdering his friend in a local park three years ago, prosecutors announced Monday.

Alexander Bonich, 52, was found guilty of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence in May. He was sentenced on June 18 to serve 25 years to life in prison.

According to trial testimony, Bonich met William Klinger, 42, a historian from Rome, Italy, years ago during a trip to Croatia and maintained a friendship. When Klinger had expressed to Bonich that he wanted to move to the United States, Bonich offered to help. He told Klinger that he not only found a job for him but would also sell him an apartment in Astoria for $85,000.

However, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, the promises turned out to be lies. Bonich had not secured a job for Klinger, and the apartment he promised was, in reality, rented by Bonich’s elderly mother.

Then, on Jan. 31, 2015, Bonich and Klinger were walking through Astoria Park when they got into an argument about the situation. Klinger began to walk away from Bonich, who ordered him to stop. Prosecutors said Klinger ignored him, and Bonich then shot him in the back of the head. After Klinger fell to the ground, Bonich shot him again.

“The shooter and the victim were friends, but that did not stop the defendant from first scamming the man out of tens of thousands of dollars and then viciously shooting him in the back,” Brown said in a June 18 statement. “This was a horrible crime committed in broad daylight in one of Queens’ most popular parks. A jury found the defendant guilty and the court has now sentenced him to spend the rest of his days locked behind bars as punishment for this senseless killing. ”

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