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Fork from Florida restaurant led to bust in NYC case where attacker viciously beat uncle with shovel: sources

Using DNA from the fork, investigators this week solved a 15-year-old cold case in Queens, arresting a 41-year-old man in the stabbing death of his uncle in Queens, police and law enforcement sources told The Post.

Anthony Scalisi, 41, of Boynton Beach, Florida, was extradited to New York on Thursday night and charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 10, 2009, killing of Rosario Prestigiacomo, 64, inside a home on Greene Avenue near Grandview Avenue in Ridgewood, police said.

The younger man stabbed the older victim 16 times, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, and authorities at the time also said Prestigiacomo had been beaten with a shovel.

Scalici, the son of Prestigiacomo’s ex-wife’s brother, has been linked to the case through DNA on a fork he used at a Florida restaurant, sources told The Washington Post.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, this case marks the first time a murder suspect has been identified and arrested in New York using a public genealogy database.

Shortly after the attack, emergency responders found Mr Prestigiacomo lying face down in a hallway in a pool of blood, with blood splatter visible on the wall.

Scalici has been charged with second-degree murder, authorities said. Brigitte Stelzer

Prosecutors said Prestigiacomo was stabbed in the face, neck, torso and limbs in a brutal attack that left him with puncture wounds to his lungs, esophagus, chest and lower abdomen.

The elderly man also suffered blunt force trauma to his head, torso and extremities, according to the district attorney’s office.

The motive for the killing remains unclear.

The early stages of the investigation provided few clues.

NYPD detectives had taken several blood samples that contained the victim’s DNA and a DNA profile from the man believed to be the attacker, but searching for the profile in local, state and national databases turned up nothing, the district attorney’s office said.

It wasn’t until March 2022 that investigators turned to newly developed forensic genetic genealogy for clues, enlisting the help of private lab Auslam and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Scalici, the son of Prestigiacomo’s ex-wife’s brother, has been linked to the case through DNA on a fork he used at a Florida restaurant, sources told The Washington Post. Brigitte Stelzer

Three months later, Osram conducted advanced DNA testing based on blood left at the scene and created a comprehensive genealogical profile of the suspect, which he uploaded to a public database, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Using that information, Linda Doyle of the NYPD’s Forensic Science Division created a family tree to identify suspects and their relatives.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office, working with the NYPD’s Cold Case Unit, took over the investigation in December and ultimately identified Scalisi as a suspect.

The motive for the 2009 murder remains unclear.

Then, in February, cold case detectives conducted surveillance of Scalisi along with Boynton Beach police officers.

That’s when Florida detectives managed to grab the fork he was using at the restaurant, which ultimately matched DNA results and also matched DNA found under the victim’s fingernails, sources said.

Scalisi was arrested in Florida on May 14 by local police, U.S. Marshals and the New York Police Department’s Regional Fugitive Task Force.

At his arraignment Thursday before Superior Court Judge Kenneth Holder, Scalisi, who was ushered into the courtroom wearing a gray sweatshirt and black nylon long pants, was ordered held without bail.

If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

“I formed the Cold Case Unit to provide closure for grieving families and seek justice on behalf of victims,” ​​Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “This case is an example of the tenacity and determination of our investigators in this and all cold case cases, and it highlights the successful partnership that has been forged between my office and the NYPD Cold Case Unit. The defendants should not be able to evade justice, no matter how much time has passed.”

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