On March 28, 1991, Manuel Mayi was beaten to death by a mob in Corona, Queens.
At the time, as many as 10 white individuals chased the 18 year-old Dominican for 16 blocks. They then hit him with baseball bats, fatally cracking his skull. Cops made three arrests. The District Attorney tried one individual, who was not convicted.
Altagracia Mayi, his mother, still wants answers: “I will never tire of seeking justice,” she told El Diario.
When he was killed, some — including cops — said that the crime was graffiti motivated. They had said that Manuel Mayi was roughed up for tagging area buildings. But family and friends counter that the crime was bias-based.
“Suppose he did graffiti. Why didn’t they just call the cops?” Altagracia told reporters.
Altagracia Mayi told the Spanish-language daily that there are at least three viable witnesses. She says their testimony could put the perps behind bars — and she doesn’t understand why cops and prosecutors have ignored them.
“The authorities haven’t done enough,” she said. “They’re always saying they’re making an effort, but we still don’t know when it’s going to get solved.”
With the exception of Corona residents — who will come together April 1 to remember the Queens College honor student — Manuel Mayi seems to have been largely forgotten, and progress seems slow.
Indeed, in 2002 — 11 years after his death — NYPD Comissioner Ray Kelly announced that Manuel Mayi’s death would be reinvestigated by a cold-case squad. Reports of yet another reinvestigation surfaced in 2010.
The NYPD has insisted that it has “spared no resources and has done everything in its power, including DNA tests, and is continuing to interview witnesses,” according to El Diario. The Queens D.A. has made similar statements, telling the paper that the office is still investigating the case.
Runnin’ Scared reached out to the NYPD and Queens D.A. to check on the status. We’ll update if we hear back.
UPDATE: Queens D.A. Richard Brown just got in touch and had this to say:
On March 29, 1991, Manuel Mayi was chased through the streets of Corona and mercilessly beaten to death. Approximately one month later an individual was arrested and was thereafter indicted. The case was pending when I became the District Attorney of Queens County.
During the pendency of the case my staff and I met with members of Mr. Mayi’s family and various elected officials for the purpose of supporting the continuing investigation into this tragedy. This office spared no effort or expense in our attempt to hold the individual accountable, including sending two of our detectives and an assistant district attorney to a remote village in Sicily in an attempt to persuade a recalcitrant witness to return to enhance a less than overwhelming case. That witness refused, however, to return to this country and the individual was acquitted by a jury of his peers that deliberated for five days.
We have through the years worked closely with the Police Department in an effort to identify other participants in this matter. We, for example, obtained an unsealing order allowing us to share with the Police Department our heretofore sealed file with respect to this case. In addition, the Police Department has maintained its own case file and, as a result of the unsealing order, our file which has been retrieved from our archives has now been made available to them, as well.
If evidence is developed that will sustain the filing of additional charges in this matter, my office will vigorously prosecute those charges