Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Kenny Panama was arraigned today for the murder of 43-year-old Mauro Chimbay, who was killed after his car window was smashed and he then frantically tried to stop the defendant from getting away in a BMW with property he had allegedly stolen. Chimbay was thrown to his death from the hood of the BMW as it sped off down a Jackson Heights street.

District Attorney Katz said: “What a senseless tragedy. It shows what can happen when a brazen defendant steals property and it escalates. In the end, a man lost his life to protect his property. We are charging the defendant with murder.”

Panama, 36, of 81st Street in Middle Village, was arraigned on a seven-count indictment charging him with murder in the second degree; assault in the first degree; two counts of robbery in the first degree; robbery in the second degree; criminal mischief in the third degree; and petit larceny.

He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder ordered Panama to return to court on April 2.

According to the charges and video surveillance:

  • On November 15, 2023, at approximately 12:30 p.m., Chimbay, of Woodside, and two other men rode in Chimbay’s Toyota Highlander to Gorman Playground in Jackson Heights to play volleyball. Chimbay parked on 85th Street and he and the two others went into the park.
  • At approximately 2:45 p.m., a white BMW stopped in the vicinity of 30th Avenue and 85th Street near the playground and Panama got out of the car.
  • Panama went up to Chimbay’s Highlander and put his face against the rear window, looking inside. He then circled the playground on foot as the BMW followed him. He got back into the BMW.
  • At approximately 3:00 p.m., Panama again got out of the BMW, approached the Highlander and shattered the rear window with what appeared to be a hammer. He reached inside the vehicle to unlock a door, opened it and removed what appeared to be a box. He got back into the BMW.
  • Chimbay and others ran from the playground after hearing the glass shatter and car alarm sound. He jumped on the hood of the BMW in an attempt to stop the theft. When the BMW accelerated, Chimbay was carried down the block on the hood and launched into a parked car before landing on the street. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Senior Assistant District Attorney John Esposito and Assistant District Attorneys Alison Miller and Joseph Randazzo of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys John Kosinski, Bureau Chief, and Karen Ross, Deputy Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Shawn Clark.

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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