CORAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island man pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges he strangled his 71-year-old uncle and buried his body in the woods.
Coram resident Jonathan Roman, 42, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of John Frankowski, of New Hyde Park. He was arrested and charged on Friday.
Frankowski was reported missing last Saturday by his son, John Frankowski Jr., who lives in Florida, CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
Frankowski Jr. said he spoke with his father every day and became alarmed when his father didn’t answer the phone.
Police said they believe Roman got into an argument with his uncle that turned violent.
Frankowski Jr. told reporters a dispute had been brewing over his 91-year-old grandmother’s estate.
“There was an estate left to my father and his sisters and apparently my father wasn’t moving quick enough for everyone, so they took matters into their own hands. That is what we believe it to be,” he said.
On Friday, the Nassau County Police Homicide Squad and the Suffolk County K-9 Unit found Frankowski’s body buried in a wooded area behind Roman’s home on Grove Avenue, authorities said.
Investigators had searched the area for a day and a half before making the gruesome discovery, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
Frankowski Jr. said after Saturday’s court appearance that his father was the greatest man he had ever known. He said his father raised him and his sisters as a single dad. He was an accountant who was just about to retire.
“He was supposed to be the best man at my wedding in three weeks, and now I cannot have a wedding because he is gone,” Frankowski Jr. said tearfully.
Frankowski Jr. also said his father never trusted Roman.
“He has said since day one to neighbors who surround him, ‘if you ever see him, call police. He’s a threat. I’m afraid of him,’ and my father was right. He killed him,” he said.
There is no word yet on how Frankowski died, Grymes reported.
Roman was ordered held without bail and is due back in court Tuesday.
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