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Gennaro criticizes Albany’s “soft on crime” policies

By Evan Triantafilidis

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City Councilman James Gennaro voiced his displeasure with the governor and the state legislature, claiming that Albany’s “soft on crime agenda” is to blame for not addressing rising crime and public safety concerns.

Gennaro pointed to a spike of major crimes in New York City, citing a nearly 60 percent jump in February compared to the same month last year. He expressed concerns with how the state has failed to allow judges to consider dangerousness when deciding whether or not to remand a defendant.

“New York State is the only state in the country whose judges cannot consider dangerousness with regard to defendants,” Gennaro said at a press conference held at Pomonok Houses on Monday morning. “And that has led to many defendants perpetrating repeat violent crimes.”

Gennaro, who represents portions of Kew Garden Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills and Jamaica, gave Governor Kathy Hochul a failing grade in regards to public safety.

“This failure of leadership on critical safety imperatives has led me here today to state that this represents a gross failure of leadership on the part of the governor and the state legislature,” Gennaro said. “And now that the state legislative session is over for the year, we have to wait for next year’s legislative sessions to hope for a functional and effective criminal justice system that the city and state needs and deserves.”

Joining Gennaro at the press conference were Tamika Williams-Moore, president of the Pomonok Houses Association, and Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council.

Nussbaum stated that the criminal justice system in the state is, and has been, broken.

“It’s been broken for years,” Nussbaum added. “There has been a failure from the city level as well as the state level.”

He called upon Governor Kathy Hochul to call a special session of the state legislature in September to deal with the singular issue.

Williams-Moore said that two recent shootings in the NYCHA complex last month has residents fearing for their safety.

“As far as crime goes in our communities we see a lot of robberies, we see people breaking into cars, we see vandalism, but we don’t see a high incidence of murders, which we’re very proud about,” Williams-Moore said. “We want to keep it that way. And we would be happy if we had no shootings at all. So there has been years where Paumanok hasn’t had any shootings or murders. And we want to go back to those days. Those were the golden days.”

Orsolya Gaal’s alleged murderer confesses to crime

If convicted, Bonola faces up to 25 years-to-life in prison.

David Bonola, 44, of Richmond Hill is facing murder charges in the case of Orsolya Gaal, a 51-year-old mother of two from Forest Hills.

The body was discovered when a passerby noticed a suspicious bag located nearby Forest Park, was covered in blood. They immediately called 911 to notify the police. Upon their arrival, they discovered Gaal’s mutilated body was stuffed inside.   

According to ABC Eyewitness News, the victim had last been seen at the Forest Hills Station House the night before she was discovered in the park. The bar staff said that Gaal was a regular customer and that her recent visit was nothing out of the ordinary. 

It was shortly after Gaal returned to her home on Juno Street that Bonola entered the house. It is believed, based on several published reports, that Bonola knew of a spare key to the residence and had previously done work on the home. 

He and Gaal got into a verbal altercation in the basement of the house, which soon escalated to the point where Bonola allegedly slit her throat and stabbed her 58 times in the neck, torso and arm. 

According to Chief of Detectives James Essig, the pair had an on-again, off-again relationship in the past, and were romantically involved prior to the attack. Both Bonola and Gaal are married, but carried out an affair for the last two years. 

Video surveillance footage taken the night of the incident revealed that the defendant then dragged the duffel bag through the neighborhood up to Metropolitan Avenue and Union Turnpike, where she was found, leaving behind a trail of blood. 

Bonola confessed to the crimes after voluntarily returning to the precinct, eventually surrendering to police, who were led to find additional evidence including a knife, a jacket, boots, and a t-shirt which they believe he was wearing at the time of the murder. 

Essig said that there are no additional suspects in connection to the case at this time. 

Police also indicated that Gaal’s husband and one of her two sons were out of town visiting colleges on the West Coast, when her body was found. Her other son was asleep on the top floor of the house when the incident occured. 

Following the brutal attack, her husband received threatening texts from his wife’s phone, which Bonola later told police had been sent in an effort to take suspicion away from himself. 

Gaal previously made a post to a local Facebook group sharing concerns about increased crime in the area.

Gaal, who was active on social media, was a member of the Facebook group “Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens – ‘Our Communities’” which is dedicated to the central Queens area where the incident took place. 

Eerily enough, in 2020, Gaal made a post sharing concerns for her safety in the community, and the measures she had taken to protect herself.

“Given the recent attack on a woman in Forest Park and the general uptick of crime and seedy characters in the neighborhood, I sought info here to get mace/pepper spray for my runs in the park,” Gaal wrote in the post.

Bonola was arraigned on Thursday night before Queens Criminal Court Judge Anthony M. Battisti on second degree murder charges, along with tampering with physical evidence, and criminal possession of a weapon. 

“Two boys are left without a mother and a young teenager faces the added trauma of being home when this heinous murder took place,” District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement about the case. “The defendant is now in custody and will be held to account for this horrific crime.” If convicted, he could potentially face up to 25 years-to-life in prison. 

Bonola has at least one prior arrest from back in 2013, according to NBC 4 News, but police have stated that it has no bearing on their investigation.

Forest Hills mom found dead in bloody duffel bag, stabbed nearly 60 times

A 51-year-old mother of two from Forest Hills was found deceased in a bloody duffel bag at the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Jackie Robinson Parkway in Forest Park.

Orsolya Gaal was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday, April 16, after the NYPD responded to 911 calls of a “suspicious bag with blood on it.”
Officers say that the trail of blood was followed to 72-24 Juno Street, where Gaal lived with her husband and two sons.

Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, and their oldest son were out of town when she was killed.

Gaal reportedly told the youngest son, 13, that she would go out to see a show on Friday night, but at some point she met up with a man who police believe she knew.

It is believed that the man killed Gaal in the basement of her home, and dragged her body multiple blocks to the location in which she was discovered.

Surveillance footage revealed an individual appearing to drag a duffel bag through the streets of the quiet neighborhood.

Gaal’s 13-year-old son was brought in for questioning by the NYPD, but was later released.

PIX11 reports that police sources said that Klein received a text message from the man believed to have murdered Gaal.

The haunting messages allegedly read “Your wife sent me to jail some years ago. I’m back,” and “Your whole family is next.”

Gaal’s autopsy revealed that she was stabbed nearly 60 times in her neck, left arm and torso.

At the time of publication, no arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing.

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