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]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Sunnysider

That is great News after all these years Mr Seitz was able to get his name back. Rest In Peace .

Reply

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

Crunching the Queens crime numbers: felony assaults across the borough on the rise, burglaries down slightly in northern Queens

Feb. 21, 2024 By Ethan Marshall

The number of felony assaults across Queens increased during the 28-day period from Jan. 22 through Feb. 18, compared to the same period of time last year, according to the latest crime stats released by the NYPD Tuesday. At the same time, the number of reported burglaries experienced a slight but noticeable drop in northern Queens.