A reputed mob associate has been convicted of a grisly 1999 murder in a Throggs Neck bar that prosecutors said was a case of mistaken identity.
After the case had been unsolved for eight years, Joseph Meldish of 1033 Logan Avenue and Kimberly Hanzlik of 1832 Parkview Avenue were both arrested in 2007 and convicted on Wednesday, February 16 of second degree murder in the 1999 killing of Joseph Brown inside Frenchy’s Tavern, recently called MVP Bar and Grill, on 3392 E. Tremont Avenue.
Meldish is convicted of walking into the tavern and leaving Brown bullet riddled, which was apparently in retaliation for Brown’s brother filing burglary charges against Meldish three weeks earlier.
Prosecutors believe that the murder was a case of mistaken identity, and that Meldish thought the victim was Brown’s brother.
Hanzlik entered the bar prior to the shooting to scout out where Brown was sitting with his wife, before Meldish put on a ski-mask, went inside, and opened fire. Brown’s wife testified at his trial that Meldish shouted ‘this is for you,’ before the 35-year-old tunnel digger was shot nine times on March 21, 1999, according to published reports.
“I think it shows that even though justice often takes some time, the DA’s office and police department are diligent in following these cases,” said Bob Bieder, president of the 45th Precinct Community Council.
“Here we are 12 years later and the district attorney and detectives are still on top of this case, and the reason that they solved it was someone came forward.”
It is so important that people come forward when they have information regarding a crime, because as good as the police are, without the help of witnesses there are no convictions, Bieder said.
Sentencing for the duo before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Troy Webber is set for Wednesday, March 9, with both suspects facing up to 25 years-to-life.
After eight years and very few leads, someone who is said to have driven the getaway car for Meldish and his girlfriend Hanzlik came forward and based on that testimony, the pair was arrested and prosecuted.
Meldish, 54, was allegedly part of the Purple Gang, which carried out drug-related murders for the Bonanno, Genovese and Luchese crime family for decades.
Three weeks before the shooting, Meldish had been arrested and charged with attempted burglary on a complaint from the victim’s brother, Thomas Brown, who later declined to press charges because of Meldish’s reputed connection with organized crime, Brown said in his testimony at the trial, according to published reports.