May 31, 2018 By Tara Law
A man who shot a friend to death in Astoria Park in 2015 has been convicted of murder.
Alexander Bonich, 52, of Astoria, faces up to 25 years to life for murdering his friend, 42-year-old academic William Klinger of Rome, Italy.
Bonich was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder after a five-week-long trial, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Klinger and Bonich met while traveling in Croatia, where both were reportedly born, and had been friends for years, the District Attorney’s office said.
Klinger told Bonich that he was thinking about moving to the U.S., and Bonich offered to help. Bonich sold him an apartment in Astoria for $85,000 and told him he would find him a job.
Klinger arrived in the U.S. and discovered that he had been deceived, the Queens District Attorney’s office said. There was no job waiting for him, and the apartment he had purchased was rented by Bonich’s mother.
The two men were walking in Astoria Park on the afternoon of Jan. 31 when they started to argue. Klinger began to walk away from Bonich, who demanded that he stop.
When Klinger ignored him, Bonich shot him in the back of the head. Klinger tumbled to the ground and Bonich shot him again.
District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that the jury had only deliberated for two hours before convicting Bonich.
“The defendant in this case spun a web of lies – claiming that the victim had set out to kill him and that shooting the man in the back was self-defense,” said Brown.
Brown condemned Bonich for having “betrayed the victim’s trust.”
“The defendant will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars as punishment for this senseless killing,” said Brown.