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Rikers Inmate Allegedly Arranged Witness Tampering With Cousin

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July 15, 2016 Staff Report

A man is facing serious jail time after interfering with a witness who is testifying against his cousin in an Astoria murder case, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Charges state that Astoria Boulevard resident Tyrone Ceruti approached a witness to a murder allegedly committed by his cousin Samuel Ceruti and told that individual not to testify against Samuel. He has been charged with second-, fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy and third-degree tampering with a witness.

This encounter followed an attack on the witness by three perpetrators who have not been apprehended, according to Brown’s office.

Samuel Ceruti is facing charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, after allegedly fatally shooting Sean Overton at Astoria Houses at 2-06 Astoria Blvd.

He has been held without bail since April 7, 2015 and faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted for the murder.

Following the alleged witness tampering incident, Samuel Ceruti now also faces multiple charges of conspiracy, witness tampering and assault. It is alleged that Samuel Ceruti orchestrated the attack on the witness from his cell on Rikers Island.

Tyrone Ceruti was arraigned on June 30 and was ordered held on $1 million bail. He will return to court on Aug. 2.

“Prospective witnesses must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony,” Brown said. “This office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”

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