City Council candidate and attorney at law Albert Baldeo has condemned the senseless murder of Jagat Ram Balram, a Guyanese hardworking father, and is calling on the District Attorney to ensure that justice is done. "This case will be followed closely by my office to ensure that the penalty is grave enough to deter these senseless acts of killing in our community. Was this a hate crime, or a wanton criminal act? I call upon law enforcement to thoroughly investigate and prosecute this case to the fullest. Only recently, another immigrant family, the Beharry family of Ozone Park, suffered a similar fate when a parolee, destroyed their life by brutally killing the father. I blamed the City for his early release, which made him prey upon our residents. Now, another brutal killing. Our community does not deserve this. My deepest sympathy goes out to the Balram family."

Baldeo, after visiting and sympathizing with the family, has also contacted the NYS Crime Victim Compensation to secure $6,000 for the family's benefit, and is contemplating raising funds to defray funeral expenses and other costs of the Balram family, who lost their father and husband in his senseless killing by 18 year-old Antonio Roque.

Jagat Balram, a 52-year-old bus mechanic, was walking home from work early yesterday, but suffered a fatal heart attack when he was accosted by Roque, who had been drinking and terrorizing the quiet Richmond Hill neighborhood. Roque allegedly fractured his skull and broke his nose and at least one rib. The medical examiner's office said the victim, who had high-blood pressure and heart disease, died of a heart attack caused by the assault.

Roque admitted to the attack and was charged with manslaughter, the Queens district attorney's office said. "This is a case where Mr. Balram just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," a law enforcement source said. Police source said Roque downed a number of drinks in a friend's home, and then hit the streets of Richmond Hill, confronting residents.

After several confrontations, including one with a man who wouldn't back down, Roque pounced on Balram, who was heading home from his job as a bus mechanic just before 1 a.m., police said.

Balram's family, meanwhile, are left to deal with the pain and suffering at the loss of a father and a husband. The loss is further compounded by expenses of approximately $10,000. "My father never troubled anybody," Hardeo said. "So why would somebody go and do that?" He said their last conversation was his father saying that he was off to work. "Now he's dead. I can't believe this," he said.

Newsday reported that Balram's widow, before breaking down in tears, said she would like her husband to be remembered "as a loving husband and father" to Hardeo and his 25-year-old brother, Chateram, who stayed behind in Guyana when the family emigrated in November 2003.
"To believe in the American dream, as Balram and family did, and to go back in a coffin to your native land, is very heart wrenching. No one should die so wantonly. We demand justice for the Balram family!" Baldeo said.

  AlbertBaldeoForCityCouncil.Com 2005