Hollis man faces life in prison for ‘mercilessly’ beating Jamaica pawn shop owner to death: DA

Jamaica pawn shop
Hollis resident Rodolfo Lopez-Portillo is escorted out of the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica following his extradition from Maryland to face murder charges in the savage beating of a Jamaica businessman. (Photo by Lloyd MItchell)

The accused killer of a Jamaica pawn shop owner was charged with murder and other crimes before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jessica Earle-Gargan on May 19.

Hollis resident Rodolfo Lopez-Portillo, 47, who lives on Jamaica Avenue near 186th Street, was arraigned on a five-count complaint charging him in the fatal beating of 60-year-old Arasb Shougi, who was bludgeoned so savagely, investigators initially believed he had been shot in the head during a robbery on March 28.

According to the charges, at around 12:30 p.m., Lopez-Portillo entered Global Pawn Shop on Jamaica Avenue and confronted Shoughi and allegedly wielded a metal rod and struck the victim on his head multiple times. Lopez-Portillo was captured on video surveillance landing blow after blow as Shoughi lay on the floor. The defendant then allegedly removed a ring and necklace from the victim and then stole his cellphone and other items in the store before fleeing the scene.

Jamaica pawn shop
The married father of three from Jamaica Estates was beaten so severely that investigators initially believe he had been shot in the head. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

EMS responded to the crime scene and transported the victim to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where doctors revealed that the victim was suffering from blunt force trauma, police said. The married father of three from Jamaica Estates succumbed to his injuries three weeks later on April 17.

Detectives with the NYPD’s Fugitive Task Force tracked down Lopez-Portillo in Maryland and arrested him on May 5 and extradited back to Queens on May 18. During his arraignment a day later, Lopez-Portillo was charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

“As alleged, the defendant perpetrated a shocking act of violence — mercilessly beating a pawn shop owner to death with a blunt object during a broad daylight robbery,” Katz said. “Brutal lawlessness affecting our local business owners will never go unanswered. The defendant is now in custody and will be held to account for this horrific crime.”

Judge Earle-Gargan ordered Lopez-Portillo to be held without bail and he faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.