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A Bayside woman died after an argument with a man in their shared home Wednesday during what appeared to be a murder and failed attempted suicide, authorities said.
Firefighters responded to a call around 7:30 p.m. at 39-20 214th Place after neighbors saw smoke and smelled gasoline. Both victims were found in the basement apartment of the two-story home by responding law enforcement officials.
According to police, the 57-year-old woman was found unconscious with an apparent stab wound to the neck. The man, 56, was discovered in a closet, where the man had attempted to hang himself, they said.
Police alleged the man doused the home with gasoline and started a fire before attempting to take his own life.
Both victims were taken to different hospitals. Police said the woman died at Flushing Hospital, while the man was in critical condition at New York Hospital Queens.
“It was a small fire in the kitchen area and they opened a bedroom door and found a female lying on the bed, apparently cut to some degree,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The motive was unknown, but the couple had been arguing so fiercely that their landlord tried to evict them, neighbors said. The fire was under investigation as being intentionally set as part of a cover-up, officials said.
Greg Honahan, who lives a couple of doors away, said he would often see the quiet couple in the neighborhood.
“I didn’t know them, but I would see them around,” he said. “They were very quiet.”
But another neighbor, George Gomez, said the couple argued frequently and either the woman’s or the man’s gambling problem might have been the catalyst for the final argument.
According to neighbors, the unmarried couple had lived in the home for between several months to a year. Neighbors also said the couple did not have any children, but the man had three from a previous marriage. None of the children, who are adults, were in the apartment at the time of the incident.
Carol M., the couple’s next-door neighbor, said she was walking home with her two children from Lloyd Funeral Home (214-43 39th Ave.) when they were overcome by the smell of gasoline.
“It was stifling,” she said, adding she was shocked this could happen on a quiet street in Bayside. “They were a quiet couple. I never heard anything from them. This is really a tragedy.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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