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Parks Worker Charged with Murdering Colleague in Queens

By Mary Johnson | September 5, 2012 4:42pm
The Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
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QUEENS — A Parks Department employee who allegedly stabbed his coworker to death at a Queens rec center on Tuesday after a long simmering feud has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Robert Swann, 51, a seasonal parks worker, was arraigned Wednesday after allegedly confessing to stabbing 31-year-old Ezra Black in the torso inside the Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing, the DA’s office said.

Swann then allegedly told police he tossed the knife and the clothes he had been wearing in a field near Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“The defendant is accused of the senseless stabbing death of a co-worker,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement. “His alleged actions have left a young man dead, and the defendant is now facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.”  

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the workers had a longstanding dispute that culminated in an argument on Tuesday, just hours after Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a press conference at the rec center.

"They've had words for a while," Kelly said.

"A dispute of some sort arises,” Kelly continued. “One individual stabs the other in the chest one time. He then flees the location."

Swann, who was held without bail, is due back in court on Sept. 18. He could face 25 years to life in prison, if convicted.