Arrested after 26 years on the run:  Zunilda Rosario, arrested and charged with the shooting death of her lover in New York apartment

Former Harlem resident who fled to Rhode Island to work as a schoolbus driver, busted for 26-year-old NY murder, Friday

Zunilda Rosario, 48, arrested at JFK Airport, Thursday following an afternoon flight back  from the Dominican Republic, remanded without bail

Accused of fatally shooting Juan Deleon, 19, in the lobby of his apartment building in Manhattan, Feb. 11, 1990

She had been arguing with Deleon, the father of her two daughters over his alleged infidelity, they had “a tumultuous romantic relationship”, at one point, she pointed a gun at Deleon expressing a desire to shoot him

The case was cold until February, when an eyewitness to the slaying came forward, several more witnesses confirmed Rosario as the killer

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Rosario had claimed a man shot Deleon in front of her and fled

She has been charged with second-degree murder, two counts of criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon

zunildaZunilda Rosario making her appearance in court, Friday

Zunilda Rosario, a former Harlem resident who worked as a school-bus driver and baked cakes in her Rhode Island home was just busted for a 26-year-old murder, cops said Friday.
Rosario, 48, was charged with second-degree murder for shooting at least eight bullets at Juan Deleon, 19, hitting him in the head and torso in the lobby of a Manhattan apartment building in Feb. 11, 1990. She was remanded without bail after being arrested by police at JFK Airport on Thursday following an afternoon flight back to the States from the Dominican Republic.


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The suspect had been arguing with Deleon, the father of her two daughters over the alleged infidelity of Deleon. The pair were known to have “a tumultuous romantic relationship”.  At one point, Rosario “had pointed a gun at Juan Deleon and expressed a desire to shoot him,” according to the criminal complaint. She said she “had learned how to handle guns and how to shoot in the Dominican Republic,” according to a witness .
Police cited four witnesses who provided information leading to the arrest.
“This is a very strong circumstantial case,” prosecutor Erin Tierney said at the suspect’s Manhattan Criminal Court arraignment. “It includes witnesses who knew the defendant and victim and put her at the scene.”

Zunilda Rosario allegedly shot former boyfriend, Juan Deleon inside this building.jpg
Zunilda Rosario allegedly murdered former boyfriend, Juan Deleon, inside the hallway of the building in 26 years ago

When she discovered Deleon had fathered a child with another woman, Rosario also threatened to kill him, his other baby mama and the kid, the documents say.
The court document notes that the defendant didn’t attend either Deleon’s wake or funeral.
during the investigation Rosario told the authorities that a man shot Deleon in front of her and then fled.


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After her lover’s death, Rosario and her two daughters left New York and  settled in Providence, R.I., in 1996, police sources said.
The case was cold until February, when an eyewitness to the slaying came forward and fingered Rosario for the murder, the sources said. Cops interviewed several more witnesses who also identified Rosario as the killer, the sources said. Authorities traced Rosario’s whereabouts to an address in Providence, RI, and were preparing to arrest her there when they got word that she was on a flight back to JFK, the sources said.

Port Authority police grabbed Rosario as soon as the plane landed and then turned her over to detectives from the NYPD’s 30th Squad.
After her arrest Thursday, a family member said that Rosario had not been on the run and moved to Providence in 1996 while regularly traveling back to New York City, unaware that she was on the NYPD’s radar.
“The day [the murder] happened, she gave the police a statement. They took her statement and tested her hands for gunpowder residue, which came back negative”.
The relative described Deleon as an unsavory character who she believes was fatally gunned down by two unidentified men: “[Deleon] was a philandering a**hole,” the relative said.

But “there was no lover’s quarrel. That was all bulls***t.

The relative claimed Rosario went to the West 150th Street building that fateful day to meet with Deleon to discuss their two children.
“She has been wrongfully charged with this,” the relative said. “This is a woman who has so much integrity. She is a taxpayer. She went to Providence for a better life. This is a woman who would never, never harm anybody. We are all shocked.”

 

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