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An arrest has been made in the murder of a Queens divorce attorney who was found fatally stabbed in his office earlier this month.
Nando Perez, 64, was taken into police custody on Monday in relation to the apparent knife attack, a spokesperson for the New York City Police Department confirmed.
On Aug. 5, police responded to a 911 call regarding an unresponsive person at a property in Jackson Heights, Queens around 5:50 a.m. Police found Charles Zolot lying unconscious on his back in an office. He’d suffered stab wounds to his face and torso. The attorney was pronounced dead at the scene.
Perez, who resides in the Bronx, was taken into police custody on Monday. He was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
Authorities haven’t yet released a possible motive related to the gruesome stabbing.
According to reports, however, investigators are probing whether Perez was possibly angered with Zolot regarding a home foreclosure. The accused man may have been a client of Zolot’s, NBC New York reported, however the exact nature of their relationship is unclear.
Zolot had allegedly been threatened previously by Perez and his 66-year-old brother regarding the foreclosure, authorities said, according to WABC-TV.
Employees in the building also reported hearing an argument in the office a night before Zolot’s murder, according to CBS New York.
Zolot primarily specialized in family and bankruptcy law, as well divorces, child custody cases, and real estate litigation, according to his website. He was permitted to practice law in New York in 1982.
Zolot’s colleagues who worked in the same building were shocked to learn the 65-year-old had been killed.
"As a lawyer, you're always afraid of some clients that could get really upset with you, and we're living in a very crazy time when people get very agitated very quickly," attorney Mark Drucker told WABC-TV.
The man described Zolot as “very likeable” and not someone who “would have an enemy or agitate anybody."
"The secretaries are really upset,” another attorney at the practice told NBC New York. “It’s scary. We have cameras on the floor so we asked for that. I think they have pictures of what’s going inside and I think someone saw blood by the elevator.
Others who knew the Queens lawyer described him as a private person.
“He’s a bright guy, a hard-working guy,” one neighbor told the New York Post. “But he was quiet, always to himself. He lived alone in a studio here at least 20 years that I know him.”
Felipe Carmona, a porter employed at Zolot’s building, also described him as “very sweet.”
The police investigation into the lawyer’s murder is open and ongoing. It's unclear if Perez has retained legal counsel.
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