By AUSTIN FENNER
Daily News Staff Writer
A man who told the authorities he had witnessed a brutal murder of a Latino community activist was arraigned yesterday as one of the victim's alleged killers.
The activist, Armando Perez, 51, a Democratic district leader and founder of Charas/El Bohio cultural center in the East Village, was brutally beaten outside his estranged wife's apartment at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City on April 3, 1999.
Initially, four men were charged with killing Perez.
After an investigation by the Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the murder charges were dismissed in November 1999.
Yesterday, Shaguye Colbert, 27, of Newark, N.J., was arraigned on a murder charge. Assistant District Attorney Richard Schaeffer told Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy that Colbert was a flight risk and should be held without bail.
Defense attorney Todd Greenberg told Hanophy that the facts in the case are dubious, especially since the district attorney had originally charged four other men as the alleged Perez murderers.
"Not only did they have the four wrong people the first time, they have the fifth wrong person now," said Greenberg.
Prosecutors charge that Colbert and co-defendant, Malik Hill, 24, choked punched and kicked Perez to death. Investigators said both Colbert and Hill put themselves at the scene and are blaming each other for killing Perez.
Schaeffer told the court that Perez had an argument with the two men because they wanted to sit on his car. Hanophy set a bail of $750,000 cash for Colbert. Hill is currently serving a prison sentence in New Jersey, said prosecutors.
Original Publication Date: 2/8/02