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Brooklyn woman arraigned on murder, arson charges in 2021 killing of Dutch Kills shelter resident at Queensbridge Houses

A Brooklyn woman was arraigned on murder and arson charges for a 2021 homicide at the Queensbr=dge Houses in Long Island City. (QNS/File)

March 28, 2023 By Bill Parry

A Brooklyn woman was criminally charged with murder in the killing of a Dutch Kills resident at
the Queensbridge Houses in 2021, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on March 28.

Tandika Wright, 35, of Mother Gaston Boulevard in Ocean Hill, was arraigned on March 26 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Danielle Hartman on a five-count complaint charging her with murder, manslaughter, arson, and assault.

According to the charges, on Dec. 9, 2021, between 6:30 and 7:10 p.m., Wright was inside an apartment located at 40-11 12th St. with 49-year-old Lavina Nolley, at the Queensbridge NYCHA development in Long Island City.

Wright allegedly slashed Nolley multiple times with a sharp object and set the apartment on fire. FDNY firefighters responded to the scene and brought the blaze under control. The firefighters discovered Nolley’s body and immediately transported her to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The victim didn’t live in the apartment where she was killed, but about a half-mile away where she was a resident of the Pam’s Place women’s shelter in the former Verve Hotel on 29th Street in Dutch Kills, according to the NYPD. The burned-out apartment was reportedly linked to drug dealers, according to Katz.

“We will seek justice for the brutally murdered victim in this case,” Katz said. “The defendant will be held accountable for the charges against her.”

Wright was previously arrested and charged on Jan. 20, 2022, in an anti-Asian hate crime that took place inside a Manhattan subway station. She was imprisoned for attempted manslaughter in the first degree for a separate incident from 2015 to 2019. Wright has 37 prior arrests, police say.

Judge Hartman ordered her held without bail with a return date on March 29. If convicted, Wright faces 25 years to life in prison.

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