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Carjacker Accused of Killing Vehicle's Owner Freed From Jail 12 Days Before

 Joshua Colon, top, who killed Phil Dellegrazie, bottom, was arrested for another carjacking in March, records show.
Joshua Colon, top, who killed Phil Dellegrazie, bottom, was arrested for another carjacking in March, records show.
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Department of Corrections, Handout and DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

BROOKLYN — An ex-con accused of crushing a man's head with the victim's own stolen truck had been arrested for carjacking just 12 days earlier — but a judge released him, records show.

Joshua Colon, 24, who's been arrested about 30 times and spent half of 2014 in prison, was arrested Monday after he stole 63-year-old Phil Dellegrazie's truck from outside his Sunset Park ironworks and then ran him over, killing him, officials said.

Colon has committed a string of carjackings and other crimes beginning in 2013, according to Brooklyn prosecutors and incarceration records.

On March 18, he hopped in a double parked 2012 Chevy Silvarado which had the keys in the ignition outside 159 16th St., near Fourth Avenue, and drove it away, prosecutors said.

Colon, from Bensonhurst, dropped his own phone in the car. When authorities confronted him, Colon told them, "It's obvious that I took it."

He was jailed, but only for six days. Judge Laura Johnson released him on his own recognizance under Criminal Procedure Law 180.80, court records show.

The law forces prosecutors to either refer the case to a grand jury within six days or release the defendant. Brooklyn prosecutors couldn't refer Colon's case because the driver he stole the truck from missed three opportunities to testify, law enforcement sources said.

Then, 12 days later on Monday, Colon stole a parked black Toyota Camry livery cab from outside 721 Fourth Ave., near 24th Street, about 6 a.m., prosecutors said.

An hour later, Colon drove up to 169 16th St., where witnesses saw him and another man removing cash, a cellphone and other things belonging to the livery driver, prosecutors said.

They didn't provide further information about Colon's accomplice.

Three hours later, Colon stole Dellegrazie's flatbed truck that was parked outside A & D Iron Works at 304 24th St., the carjacker told prosecutors in a confession.

Deelegrazie, who owns the ironworks, got into another vehicle and chased after Colon, reaching him two blocks away at 705 Fourth Ave., near 23rd Street, police said.

Dellegrazie got out of his own vehicle and walked up to the truck to try to oust the carjacker, prosecutors said.

"[Dellegrazie] opened the driver's side door and began punching [Colon] while yelling, 'My f---ing truck! My f---ing truck!,'" prosecutors said.

Colon fought back and repeatedly shoved Dellegrazie so forcefully that he bruised his own hand, prosecutors said.

Dellegrazie fell to the ground where Colon ran over his head before driving on, weaving through traffic, rear-ending at least one vehicle and going up 22nd Street, officials said.

"The body was right in the middle of the street," said Salem Jwayyed, 37, who works at a bodega nearby.

"There was an EMT right behind him. She rolled him on his back. She started doing first aid and chest compressions. She was trying to save him. She was working for 15 to 20 minutes, but I think he died on impact."

Dellegrazie, who had run his ironworks for 45 years, was pronounced dead at the scene, devastating his family, officials and relatives said.

Colon ditched the truck on 22nd Street between Third and Fourth avenues but was arrested nearby later that evening, police said.

He was hit with a slew of charges including murder, robbery, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle, prosecutors said.

He was arraigned Tuesday and is due back in court on Friday, records show. His case has been referred to a grand jury, records show.

Meanwhile, those who knew Dellegrazie were still reeling from his sudden death.

"He was a good guy. I love him. I miss him already," said longtime employee Salvador Martinez.