A drifter from Boston was convicted last week of the October 2011 strangulation and robbery of a Woodside man who had given him a place to stay, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Raymond Epps, 58, who has been held without bail since his arrest in December 2011, was convicted last Wednesday of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree grand larceny following a jury trial.
According to trial testimony, Epps met his victim, Wayne Graves, 62, at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and stayed with him at his Berkeley Towers apartment in Woodside from October 16-18. At trial, a friend of the victim, Gerard Torre, testified that he visited the apartment on October 16, and that Epps introduced himself and said that he needed a place to stay and was staying a few nights with Graves, who needed a walker for mobility. Torre visited for about 90 minutes and left. The following day Torre repeatedly called Graves by phone, but there was no answer. On the morning of Oct. 19, Torre went to the apartment and, when no one answered, he had the building’s super open the door. Graves’ body was discovered in the bathtub; his death was ruled by the city’s Chief Medical Examiner as the result of strangulation.
Evidence introduced at trial revealed that earlier that day, Epps used Graves’ credit card to purchase a bus ticket to Boston. On Oct. 20, Epps also used Graves’ credit cards in Boston to buy merchandise from various stores, which he then used to trade for crack cocaine. The prostitute, who shopped with Epps, testified that he had used the victim’s credit cards and that he had traded what he bought for crack, which the two of them smoked.
Epps, who is due to be sentenced on March 4, is facing up to 25 years to life in prison.