Volume 76, Number 15 | August 30 -September 5, 2006


Village murder
Police are seeking two men for questioning in the death of a former Rudy Giuliani aide who was found choked to death in his bed in his apartment at 23 E. 10th St. on Monday evening Aug. 21.

The victim, Martin Barreto, 48, an out gay man who worked in the mayoral press office from 1994 to 1995, was found naked in his bed with KY Jelly and a condom next to his body. The building doorman and the superintendent found Barreto’s body after his public relations business partner, Roxanna Brightwell, reported that he had not been answering his phone.

Barreto, a former journalist and native of Nicaragua, lived with a cousin but was alone when two unidentified men visited him separately in succession two days before his body was found, according to reports.

A few years ago, he had filed harassment complaints against a former boyfriend who is not a suspect in the case, according to law enforcement sources. Nothing was taken from the apartment and investigators are working on the possibility that the death was the result of sex gone violently out of control.

Barreto has family connections with the former Nicaraguan president, Violeta Barros de Chamorro, according to the New York Post. He attended prep school in New England and graduated from Brown University.

Chelsea hit-run arrest
A Marine corporal and Iraq combat veteran surrendered to police Sun. Aug. 27 in connection with the hit-and-run accident at Ninth Ave. and 28th St. in which a man was killed and his wife was injured as they crossed the avenue at about 8 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25.

Corporal Lameen Witter, 25, of Brooklyn, assigned to the Marine Corps’ public affairs office in Manhattan, was charged in the hit-and-run death of Roger Roth, 53, whose wife, Diane Roth, 52, was critically injured in the accident.

Witter was driving a Honda and said he swerved to avoid a cab when he struck the couple. He sped off and was driving without a license, according to reports.

Roger Roth was pronounced dead at the scene and his wife was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in critical condition. The New York Times reported that Roger Roth ran the computer systems at Superior Ink at West and Bethune Sts.

Bank jobs
A note-passing bank robber who got away with an unspecified amount of cash from a North Fork branch on Sixth Ave. at 45th St. on the morning of Aug. 15 struck three more banks in the East Village, the West Village and Chelsea six days later, police said.

On Aug. 21, he took a Bank of America branch on Second Ave. at E. Fourth St. for an undisclosed amount of cash and then hit two Chase branches, one on Seventh Ave. at W. 24th St. and the other on Sixth Ave. near Bleecker St., but fled empty handed from both, police said.

Foxy pleads
Foxy Brown, the hip-hop performer, entered a no-jail guilty plea on Aug. 28 in connection with a 2004 charge of assaulting two employees of a nail salon on W. 23rd St. over a $20 charge. But the rapper, real name Inga Marchand, tried to withdraw her plea when Judge Melissa Jackson told her she would have to report to a probation officer every month for three years and attend anger-management classes. Jackson, however, refused to let Brown take back the plea.

Close W. Chelsea club
The New York Police Department’s Legal Bureau closed Spirit, at 530 W. 27 St., on Fri. Aug. 25 after the club racked up 10 alcohol and drug violations in the past six months since it reopened after being closed in March for allowing underage drinking and narcotics use on the premises.

The club, one of the largest in West Chelsea with a capacity for more than 1,500 patrons, had been allowed to reopen after stipulating that it would not permit drug use or sale or underage alcohol consumption on the premises.

Spirit also agreed that its bouncers would hold drug violators until police came to arrest them and would allow an independent monitor to mandate security guards to be posted outside the club on Saturdays.

Since the reopening, however, police said there have been three instances of underage drinking, three instances of marijuana being smoked openly, one arrest for buying cocaine, one arrest for cocaine use, one arrest for buying Ecstasy and one arrest for the use of Ecstasy.

John Blair, owner of Spirit and a Community Board 4 member, was not available for comment at press time. But a spokesperson said Spirit would eventually reopen.

Charges upgraded
The seven women charged on Aug. 16 with gang assault and weapons possession in connection with the stabbing and beating of a man in front of the IFC film center on Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. were recharged last week with second-degree attempted murder in addition to assault charges, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

The victim, Dwayne Buckle, 28, of Queens, was selling bootleg DVD’s when his encounter with the women, New Jersey residents ranging in age from 18 to 31, escalated from words to violence and he was beaten and stabbed in the stomach. The suspects said the victim initiated the incident with antilesbian epithets.

Bail was set at $50,000 or a bond of $150,000 for each defendant pending their Oct. 6 arraignment.

Albert Amateau

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