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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Greater Whitestone shows that involvement in the community makes it better for all

The result of a bizarre act of vandalism was finally cleaned up in Whitestone, ending an eyesore’s reign over 14th Avenue.
For more than a year, the exterior of the Walgreens on 14th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway had been pockmarked with dents incurred in a mysterious act of nighttime aggression.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Whitestone rapist still at large

Whitestone residents last to know.

Charges of attempted rape were quietly dropped against a Bayside man after he said DNA evidence proved he was not the man responsible for the crime.
“I’m not that guy. I’m not that monster,” said 41-year-old Kenneth King, who was incarcerated for nine months between his September arrest and May release.
The Queens district attorney’s office officially dropped his case July 10 after DNA found on a sweater of the victim did not match his, according to King and his lawyer.
The DA declined to comment for this story, but King said his lawyer had long requested a DNA test but did not get his wish until a judge forced the issue at a court date six months into his incarceration.
King is currently working to put his life back together after the ordeal, which he said is not easy.
“I’ve never had anxiety, never had insomnia before,” he said. “Now it’s there constantly.”
King formerly was a traveling chef who would work at summer destinations all along the East Coast, but moved back to Bayside and worked as a plumber in order to be able to take care of his 90-year-old grandmother.
She did not take King’s incarceration lightly.
On the morning of Sept. 28, a 33-year-old Asian woman was walking along the north service road of the Cross Island Parkway near 148th Street.
According to eyewitness Brian Teichman, a former U.S. Marine who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, a man approached and shoved the woman in the foliage and leapt in after her.
Teichman rushed over to the edge of the road and started shouting, which scared the perpetrator off.
King said he was with his grandmother at Flushing Hospital that morning. She had hurt her leg in a fall and he had stayed up all night to care for her.
Instead of reporting to his job as he normally would have and having a documented alibi, he called his boss to request the morning off, he said.
It was a decision that racked his grandmother with guilt, he said.
“She felt that if she hadn’t fallen down, then I would have been at work,” King said.
King’s lawyer, Scott DuFault, said the case was built on weak identification to begin with.
Following the attack, a police sketch was plastered around the neighborhood, and eventually King was asked to come into the precinct.
The Marine who witnessed the attack was asked to pick King out of a lineup, but struggled between two men before fingering King, according to DuFault.
“It was really a tentative identification,” DuFault said.
Once a test was done and King’s DNA was found not to match DNA found on the woman’s sweater after the attacker grabbed her, King was released from Rikers Island and then his case was ultimately dropped.
But he wishes the DA had made a public admission about the case.
“If you make a mistake, you man up about it,” he said. “My life will never be the same.”
The judge in the case and the Queens County Clerk’s office said they could not comment on the case.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.