Homeless woman chokes man death after stealing his wallet

Homeless man illustration 
By: Mahesh Sarin 

A homeless woman was arrested, charged and convicted of murder after a killing a man and stealing his wallet, prosecutors in New York said.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that the 33-year-old transient woman has been sentenced to 17 years to life in prison for her role in the brutal beating death of a man in Astoria Park in Queens.

District Attorney Brown said: “The defendant, along with a male co-defendant, brutally attacked a 32-year-old man in the park. The victim was robbed of his wallet and viciously beaten and choked to death. This willful act of violence warranted a lengthy prison term.”

Kelly Harnett, 33, was convicted of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, following a jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak, who imposed an indeterminate sentence of 17 years to life in prison.

Harnett, along with codefendant Thomas Donovan, attacked Ruben Angel Vargas, 32, of 11-59 Wellings Circle in Astoria, around 4:00 a.m.

The victim was choked with a shoelace, which came from defendant Harnett’s sneaker. The victim was repeatedly kicked in the head and torso, and his wallet taken as he laid motionless on the ground.

Harnett’s co-defendant Donovan pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. He is currently serving 15 years in prison.