A homeless man has pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge in the fatal 2018 stabbing of a Riverhead resident in Queens, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said Tuesday.
John Daves, 34, who authorities said has no known address, stabbed Miguel Angel Becerra-Perez, 25, on Sept. 27, 2018 in Jackson Heights after an argument at a food cart. Becerra-Perez died after suffering stab wounds to his chest and right arm, officials said.
Daves is expected to be sentenced Feb. 3.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder has indicated he will sentence Daves to 17 years in prison, which will be followed by five years of post-release supervision, the district’s attorney’s office said.
"A minor dispute while ordering at a food cart escalated into a man being chased down and brutally stabbed to death," Katz said in a statement. "This was a needless act of violence that should never have happened."
Shortly after 9:30 p.m., according to Katz's office, the two men were waiting to order at a food cart at the intersection of 80th Street and Roosevelt Avenue. They exchanged words and Daves grabbed a knife.
A video surveillance camera at the scene recorded him chasing Becerra-Perez down the street, prosecutors said. When Daves caught up with the victim, he stabbed him, according to prosecutors.
Daves’ lawyer David Louis Cohen, who could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday night, previously said his client was "defending himself" after the argument escalated.
In a statement made to authorities the day after the stabbing, Daves acknowledged that he got into a verbal dispute with Becerra-Perez.
"His food was done before mine and the old man was telling him his food is done," Daves said of the victim, "but I guess he wasn't paying attention, so I said to him, 'Guy, listen your food is done buddy.' He got upset and came up to me and started threatening me."