Man Arrested In Slashing Death Of Woman Who Was Set To Testify Against Him

Wednesday, March 21st 2007, 8:03 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ A man charged with raping a woman in 2005 is now accused of killing her by slashing her throat because she had agreed to testify against him.

Natasha Ramen, 20, was attacked Thursday just outside her home in Queens, suffering a ``very deep wound, almost from ear to ear,'' said police Lt. Salvatore Salerno. ``It was very brutal.''

Hemant Megnath, 29, a fellow Guyanese immigrant, was arrested Tuesday on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Authorities said he was working for a real estate broker and she met him while apartment hunting. In May 2005, he lured her into his apartment and raped her, according to authorities.

In 2006, Megnath also was charged with making threats against Ramen and her family in retaliation for the rape allegation, police said. A pretrial hearing had been set for April 9.

There was no immediate response to a call seeking comment from his attorney Tuesday. Prosecutors had no immediate comment.

The victim, grabbed from behind and slashed as she was leaving for work, died hours later at a hospital. She was unable to identify her assailant but her landlord witnessed the attack, Salerno said.

``My grandma ran up to her and tried to help her. She asked her, did she know who did it, and she shook her head 'yes,' but she couldn't talk,'' the landlord's grandson, Daniel Kissoon, 17, told the New York Post.

Ramen had hoped to become a nurse, her uncle, Narine Bharat, told the Post. ``She came here to search for the American dream,'' he said.