Volume 76, Number 29 | December 13 - 19, 2006

Couple say don’t brand them guilty

Kristina Caban and Robert Testagrossa, charged with branding an “R” on the torso of Caban’s ex-lover on Oct. 22 after she lured the victim to a room in the Chelsea Inn on W. 23rd St., pleaded not guilty on Dec. 5.

Caban, 21, a School of Visual Arts student, and her current boyfriend, Testagrossa, 25, were arrested three days later for branding Samir Sara with the 4-inch-high, red-hot, wire letter.

Testagrossa and a third suspect, Joel Leonhard, still being sought, agreed to brand the victim after Caban told them Sara raped her in 2004. It was later discovered that Caban wanted revenge because Sara had ignored her after a one-night stand, two years ago.

Police said Testagrossa held Sara at gunpoint as he entered the room in the hotel on W. 23rd St. at 11th Ave., showed him identification as an M.T.A. inspector, and with Leonhard, zapped him with a Taser, bound him and branded him. The defendants also had wire brands for five other letters for the word “RAPIST,” but fled before using them when the victim screamed.

Caban and Testagrossa are both free on bail pending a Jan. 11 court date.

Testagrossa was identified in a New York Post article as the son of Charles Testagrossa, an attorney in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office who is leading the inquiry into the police shooting of Sean Bell.

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