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A look at four unsolved Suffolk homicides

Russell Peterman Jr., 25, was fatally shot Sept.

Russell Peterman Jr., 25, was fatally shot Sept. 7, 2010 -- the night of his birthday -- as he talked with his father and two cousins on the stoop of a Huntington Station home. His family members escaped serious injury as the shooters opened fire from about a dozen feet away.

 Raymond Hirt, 51, of Mastic Beach, shot to death on May 24, 2010

Every day, Cathy Ferayorni walks by her late fiance’s black motorcycle helmet and a large framed photo showing his smiling face. The items, she said, make her feel close to Raymond Hirt, a 51-year-old construction flagman who was shot to death outside a job site in Lake Ronkonkoma. She said she doesn’t know why someone would have wanted to kill Hirt, whom she described as compassionate and simple.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hope the phone rings with an answer,” said Ferayorni, 49, a manager for an advertising company.

A worker for Pratt Brothers, a Bay Shore construction company, Ferayorni said Hirt enjoyed spending time with his family and found joy in the simple things, like eating a vanilla ice-cream cone with rainbow sprinkles on his porch every Sunday.

Suffolk police have said the slaying may not have been a random act, but they have no leads, no motives and no suspects in the shooting. Police have also said they believe a dark sport utility vehicle pulled up to his car and someone inside the vehicle fired at least once at Hirt. Days after his murder, Ferayorni moved out of the Mastic Beach home they shared, saying she feared that the person who killed Hirt might also hurt her.

Today, Ferayorni clings to Hirt’s memories: several cards he wrote her, photos of the two of them, and a small urn that holds his ashes.

Nicole Tessa, 31, of Patchogue, found dead in the woods on Dec. 21, 2010

Nicole Tessa, a 31-year-old mother of four, was found dead in a patch of woods near her Prince Street home just days before Christmas.

Tessa was last seen alive by her husband of four months, Joseph Jones, 28, on Dec. 17. Jones told reporters at the time that he and his wife had an argument that night, that he left the house and that when he returned, she was gone.

Suffolk County police said Jones reported Tessa missing on Dec. 19. Two days later, Tessa’s body was found by an officer and his dog, police said. Officials ruled her death a homicide but didn’t say how she died and have made no arrests in connection with her case.

Jones told reporters that he and his wife were unemployed but that Tessa had been studying to be a medical assistant. The couple has a 3-year-old son.

“It’s frustrating” not knowing who killed her, Jones told Newsday in December. “I still want her to come walking through the door.”

Jones said he and Tessa fought often, and that she would search for him when he stormed off. He said she may have been looking for him when she was killed because he often smoked in the wooded area where her body was found. “I hope they find out how she passed and who did it,” Jones said.

Russell Peterman, Jr., 25, of Huntington Station, killed Sept. 7, 2010

Russell Peterman Jr. was shot and killed the day of his 25th birthday.

It happened at around 11 p.m. as he, his father and other men stood in front of a friends’ house in Huntington Station.

“We were just laughing and joking as usual,” said the victim’s father, Russell Peterman Sr., 51, of Middle Island, who remembers someone suddenly emerged from behind the house and began shooting. “I thought it was firecrackers.”

When he turned around, Peterman said he realized his son’s head had been partially blown off and the other men were running in all directions.

Peterman thinks there are people who know who killed his son. “Kids today have this belief system where they don’t talk,” Peterman said.

More than five months after the shooting, there have been no arrests and no developments in the case. Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related. Records show the younger Peterman had several brushes with the law and had pleaded guilty to drug and robbery charges in 2006 and 2004.

Peterman said his eldest son was an outgoing funny young man who enjoyed going to car shows and spending time with his family. Peterman said his son was unemployed because of a wrist injury at the time of his death but had worked for his maintenance company for some time.

Despite his frustrations, Peterman said he still hopes his son’s case will be solved. “You hope everybody has a conscience,” he said.

Carlo Petrusa, 64, of Riverhead, shot to death on Oct. 29, 2010

The night Carlo Petrusa died, his family said, he was doing what he enjoyed most: hanging out in the Hamptons and having a good time.

But police say, the Halloween party Petrusa and several others attended at Dream Nightclub on Oct. 29 turned deadly when someone began shooting during a fight over who was wearing the best costume.

Petrusa, 64, was shot twice during the dispute by a man police say was dressed as a character from the 1995 movie “Dead Presidents,” in which bank robbers covered their faces in white makeup. Petrusa later died at a nearby hospital. Months after the murder, police have not identified the shooter.

“It’s an upsetting thing,” said Carlo Petrusa’s older brother, Richard Petrusa, 68, of Honesdale, Pa., in a phone interview, who said the family is looking for closure with an arrest and a conviction. “There’s someone out there who killed my brother.”

Carlo Petrusa, who grew up in Fresh Meadow, Queens, loved to party on the East End of Long Island and had worked as a bodyguard to stars and celebs visiting the Hamptons, his brother said. The older Petrusa said he spoke to his brother, a retired State Supreme Court officer in Queens, every day by phone. “He was a very kind, warm, friendly person,” he said.

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