Four Queens men, including two Bayside residents, await sentencing from jail cells on Rikers Island for the 2006 gang assault of two men who were trying to break up an argument – with the ringleader looking at 25 years because one victim died.
Aram Choi, 24, of Bell Boulevard and Christopher Baez, 21, of 208th Street in Bayside along with John Bae, 21, of 158th Street and Il Park, 21, of 155th Street in Flushing had been charged with murder and a raft of other charges in the beating death of Junghwa Lee, 25 and assault of another.
According records, about 4:00 a.m. on October 6, 2006 an argument broke out between members of two groups of men inside of Pastel Karaoke, located at 157-16 Northern Boulevard in Flushing.
When Lee and the unnamed victim tried to intervene, the four and approximately 10 others who have not been apprehended assaulted them with a golf club, pipes, bats, hammers and fists, leaving them unconscious.
According to testimony, the attack against both victims continued after they were on the ground and had stopped moving.
On June 15, after five weeks of trial, Park changed his plea to guilty of first-degree manslaughter, and first- and second-degree gang assault; Choi and Baez both changed to guilty pleas for first- and second-degree gang assault. Each faces up to 25 years in prison.
Bae changed his plea to guilty of second-degree gang assault. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
The four, who have all been jailed since their arrests in late 2006 were acquitted of the other charges in the incident. Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise set sentencing for July 28.
After the convictions, Queens District Attorney Brown said, “The defendants in this case showed no mercy toward their victims. The verdicts justly hold the defendants accountable for their actions.”
However, it isn’t the end of it for Bae and Park, who was allegedly found to have a weapon in jail.
Bae is charged with “enterprise corruption” or gang activity, extortion, assault and other crimes. If convicted of the top charge, he faces another 15-year prison sentence.
Editor's Note: This article was erroneously billed as written by myself, Lori Gross, when in fact is was written by veteran journalist Victor Mimoni.