You are reading

Queens Man Indicted on Murder Charges for 1976 Killing of WWI Vet

Decades-old remains of a WWI vet were discovered in the backyard of a Richmond Hill home in 2019 (Queens District Attorney’s Office)

Nov. 4, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A Queens man was indicted on murder charges Wednesday for the 1976 killing of a World War I vet in a decades-old cold case.

Martin Motta, 74, of Jamaica, was indicted by a Queens grand jury for the murder of 81-year-old George Clarence Seitz, whose dismembered body was discovered buried in the backyard of a Richmond Hill home in 2019.

Seitz was last seen leaving his home in Jamaica on Dec. 10, 1976, reportedly to get a haircut, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

His remains — a pelvis and partial torso — were found about 43 years later, on March 12, 2019, buried under a concrete slab in the backyard of a home on 115th Street.

Seitz’s body had been dismembered at the neck, shoulders and hips, according to the charges.

Investigators were unable to identify his remains for roughly two years.

Authorities failed to get a DNA match after searching local, state and national databases. The Queens DA and the NYPD then sought the help of the FBI and a private laboratory.

The private lab, Othram Laboratories, used advanced DNA technologies to produce a comprehensive genealogical profile from the skeletal remains in February 2021. The profile was handed off to the FBI, which found leads for the Queens DA and the NYPD to investigate.

WWI vet George Clarence Seitz (Queen’s District Attorney’s Office)

Investigators contacted potential family members of the victim and obtained DNA samples to compare to the remains. Through their efforts, they confirmed the body belonged to Seitz.

A subsequent investigation, which included multiple witness interviews and extensive record searches, led by the NYPD and DA’s Office found “crucial evidence” that allegedly links Motta to the murder.

“After 45 years, the alleged killer of a WWI Veteran is being held accountable and brought to justice,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “We hope the identification of the remains and the indictment in this case will begin to bring peace and closure to his loved ones.”

Motta was arraigned Wednesday in Queens Supreme Court and charged with murder in the second degree. He is set to return to court on Nov. 5.

If convicted, Motta faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.