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Indictment due this week in Queens bar slaying

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Murder suspect Miguel Valerio is set to appear in Queens State Supreme Court this week as prosecutors work through the final stages of indicting him for fatally shooting Irish immigrant Francis O’Loughlin in a Sunnyside bar two years ago.

A Queens grand jury has yet to make its decision regarding Valerio, a Dominican immigrant arrested in a remote Maryland trailer park four weeks ago. But an indictment will likely be handed down later this week after Valerio’s attorneys decide whether he will testify before the grand jury today, Wednesday.

Earlier in September, Queens detectives escorted fugitive Valerio from his Maryland hideaway back to New York, where he is facing two counts of second-degree murder, charges of criminal possession of a weapon and of tampering with physical evidence.

During his two years on the run, Valerio traveled from New York to Delaware and then to Chester, Md. Detectives initially thought he may have fled to the Dominican Republic.

O’Loughlin, a 32-year-old County Kilkenny native who owned a New York construction company, died of his wounds after being shot on Sept. 5, 1998 inside the Mad Ass Tavern in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

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Police said the two men had been involved in a drawn-out dispute over O’Loughlin’s girlfriend, who worked at the bar with Valerio.

Investigators said on the evening of the shooting Valerio stormed out of the bar and returned about 20 minutes later with a high-powered handgun.

According to prosecutors, Valerio followed the Irishman into the bathroom and shot him once in the back of the head with the .45-caliber weapon.

In his statement to detectives, Valerio admitted pulling the trigger and said he had been having problems with the victim, though he claims the weapon went off during a tussle inside the bathroom.

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