LONG ISLAND CITY — A homeless man who beat to death a Long Island City resident trying to help his neighbor was sentenced to 19 years in prison, officials said.
Eric Cherry, 47, whose last known address was the Borden Avenue Veterans Residence in Long Island City, was described by prosecutors as a homeless drug addict. He was convicted in April of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.
His victim, 65-year-old Nicholas Nowillo, was a well-liked retired jeweler who immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador.
On September 3, 2008, Nowillo’s neighbor called him to come outside because Cherry was hanging around and staring at her as she got out of her car, prosecutors said.
When Nowillo came outside, he saw Cherry standing in front of his house on Crescent Street banging and kicking his car.
The victim told him to leave and Cherry started punching him. Then he threw him to the ground and kept kicking and punching him, killing him, Queens prosecutors said.
"The defendant brutally assaulted a man who had come to the aid of his neighbor," said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. "His family must now cope with the difficult task of adjusting to a life empty of the presence of a husband, father and grandfather."
According to the Medical Examiner’s office, the victim suffered nine fractured ribs and blunt trauma to the body.