FLUSHING – Ioannis Safetis, a 57-year-old Queens resident was beaten to death, allegedly by his son Demetrios, 19, on February 6, outside the home of the elder Safetis’ ex-girlfriend, in the Auburndale neighborhood of Flushing, the New York Daily News reported.
Demetrios was charged with manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a weapon when he was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. Judge William Harrington set bail at $500,000. Safetis returns to court on Feb. 29.
The trouble began when Safetis’ ex-girlfriend called him to complain that Demetrios and his 16-year-old brother were over there partying with her 20-year-old son, at which point the two siblings got into a drunken fight.
Already irritated because he didn’t want his sons being on friendly terms with his ex, the News reported, Safetis jumped into his car and headed to her house, where he threatened all of them.
Safetis then ran to his car to grab a steering wheel lock club, which he brought back to the house and started waving it around. Demetrios wrestled the club away from his father and beat him to death with it, the News reported.
Safetis lay unresponsive on the ground with a big wound on his head. He was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, the News wrote, but he couldn’t be saved.
Dimitrios Safetis was charged with manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
According to court records, Detective John Reinle deposed and stated that “he is informed by witnesses know to the NYC Police Department and the Queens County DA’s office that…Dimitrios Safetis intended to cause physical injury and caused physical injury, by striking his brother, victim # 1:Niki Safetis in the face…with a metal bar club…causing bleeding to his nose.”
Det. Reinle further stated he was informed by witnesses “any the defendant’s admission “that the defendant struck his father, victim #2, Ioannis (John) Safetis, on the head with the above-mentioned bar club, thereby causing victim #2’s death…deponent is further informed by Sergeant Brenes of the 111 precinct that he recovered the…metal car club from the defendant’s person, and that Sergeant Brenes observed what appeared to be blood on said car club.”
A Greek-American woman who gave only her first name, Dora, lives down the block from the place where Safetis was killed.
She told TNH that her neighbor was a Greek-American woman named Irene. She did not know her last name and they were not friends, so she was not sure that she and Safetis were ever married. Dora thought Irene was Safetis’ ex-girlfriend. Irene has three children with an ex-husband who is a mechanic.
Dora told TNH that she came home just after the incident and that a neighbor told her that Safetis’ sons had been at Irene’s house, where Safetis and his sons lived with her for a time through last year.
“The sons were invited to the party and got drunk. It got out of hand and Irene called the father and told him to come and take his sons because they were causing problems and somehow they all ended up on the sidewalk fighting,” Dora said she was told.
“The father got agitated and started threatening Irene and the sons. He went back into his car and got [a club] and my neighbor said he was swinging it at them and threatening them. The son took the club and hit the father once and unfortunately it was a fatal blow,” she said her neighbor told her.
Two days later the tragic events there were still Valentine’s day hearts around the door and on the porch, presumably placed there on the occasion of the party. Near the front door Greek and American flags were planted in the ground. “She was always decorating,” the neighbor said about Irene, who who apparently is not employed full-time.
Dora has lived there for 40 years and said Irene was there for about 15 and that “quite a few” Greeks live in the neighborhood.
Safetis lived in an apartment building with his sons a few blocks away from the crime scene. A neighbor who chose not to identify himself told TNH there were frequent loud arguments inside the apartment and on the street as the family struggled with alcoholism.
Other neighbors of the Safetises told the News that they often heard the sons discussing violence, and Safetis would complain loudly how his kids ruined his life.
One neighbor described Demetrios as “a little off… It’s a shame, now that kid’s gonna go to jail for some stupidity. His life is done.”
Another neighbor told the news “It doesn’t surprise me, I hope the children will be in a better place, because [Safetis has not been] exactly a great father to them.”