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Middle Village man faces 25 to life for death of Woodside man flung from car hood following break-in: DA

Feb. 15, 2024 By Bill Parry

A Middle Village man is facing 25 years to life in prison in the death of a Woodside robbery victim in East Elmhurst in November.

Kenny Panama, 36, of 81st Street was arraigned Wednesday in Queens Supreme Court on a seven-count indictment charging him with murder and other crimes in the death of 43-year-old Mauro Chimbay who tried to thwart a robbery in broad daylight.

According to the charges and video surveillance, on Nov. 15, 2023, Chimbay and two other men in his Toyota Highlander parked on 85th Street in East Elmhurst at 12:30 p.m. to play volleyball in Gorman Playground.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., a white BMW stopped in the vicinity of 30th Avenue and 85th Street near the playground and Panama exited the vehicle and went up to Chimbay’s Highlander and put his face against the rear window, looking inside. He then circled the playground on foot as the BMW driven by an accomplice followed him. Panama then got back into the vehicle.

At around 3 p.m., Panama again got out of the BMW, approached the Highlander and shattered the rear window with what appeared to be a hammer. He reached inside the vehicle to unlock a door, opened it and removed what appeared to be a box. He got back into the BMW.

Chimbay and the others ran from Gorman Playground after hearing the glass shatter and the car alarm sound. Chimbay proceeded to jump on to the hood of the BMW in an attempt to stop the theft. When the BMW accelerated, Chimbay was carried down the block on the hood before he was launched into a parked car before falling to the street. Chambray struck the pavement hard and sustained severe head trauma.

Officers from the 115th Precinct found the mortally wounded Chimbay while responding to a 911 call about the robbery. EMS rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

“What a senseless tragedy,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “It shows what can happen when a brazen defendant steals property and it escalates. In the end, a man lost his life to protect his property. We are charging the defendant with murder.”

Panama was also criminally charged with assault, three robbery counts, criminal mischief and petit larceny. Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder ordered Panama to return to court on April 2. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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