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NYC Correction officer found guilty in 2000 slay

The man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island at the time of the occurrence.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Jurors convicted a suspended New York City Correction officer last week on a grisly murder that occurred 13 years ago behind a Ridgewood gym, the borough’s top prosecutor said.

Barbara Perez, 32, was discovered the morning of Aug. 11, 2000, behind The Power Factory with eight bullet holes in her head and one in her chest, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Investigators initially questioned Christopher “Noel” Clavell, 48, of Staten Island, Perez’s onetime boyfriend and father of her child, but did make an arrest until 11 years later.

Clavell was convicted of second-degree murder June 6 in Queens Supreme Court and faces 25 years to life in prison, according to Brown.

“The defendant has been convicted of fatally shooting the mother of his young child. For nearly 13 years he managed to escape justice, but thanks to the hard work of the NYPD’s Queens Homicide Squad and my own Homicide Investigations Bureau and their refusal to let this case grow cold, justice has finally been achieved for the victim and her family.”

During a 2 1/2 week trial, it was revealed Perez and Clavell were in a disagreement about child support payments for their son, who was 2 years old at the time, according to Brown.

The commissioner of Social Services had initiated a proceeding in Family Court several months before the murder, which would have required Clavell to compensate Perez, the DA said.

The prospect of paying child support enraged the corrections officer to such an extent he repeatedly harassed and confronted Perez over the matter, according to Brown.

At one point he told her he would sooner kill her than fork over any money, prosecutors said Perez told family and friends.

But following the 2000 shooting, prosecutors could not obtain enough evidence to arrest Clavell, who was assigned to Rikers Island at the time of the murder, until more than a decade later, the DA said.

He was finally arrested April 2011, when he was also suspended from his job, and has been held without bail ever since, according to Brown.

He will be terminated based on his conviction.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas was set to sentence Clavell June 27.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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