March 28, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A 19-year-old teen has been charged with murder in relation to the fatal shooting of a college student during a botched drug robbery in East Elmhurst last month.
Joseph Barahona, of 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights, was indicted by a grand jury and arraigned before Queens County Supreme Court Friday following the killing of 18-year-old Gregory Campos via a stray bullet on Feb. 10, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Barahona and two other would-be robbers used the cover of a drug deal to try and steal thousands of dollars worth of marijuana from an East Elmhurst apartment before the incident turned violent, prosecutors said. The incident led to a gun being fired that killed Campos.
Barahona was charged with murder, burglary and attempted robbery, although prosecutors say he didn’t fire the fatal shot that killed Campos, who lived on 58th Road in Flushing. In New York state, a suspect can be charged with murder if they commit a felony that leads to someone’s death.
Campos, the victim, had gone to a second-floor apartment on 74th Street near 30th Avenue to smoke pot with some friends, the New York Daily News reported. His brother lived in the apartment.
There was a stash of more than 50 bags of weed in a bedroom inside the apartment with 14 pot plants in the living room, according to the publication.
According to the charges, Campos let Barahona into his apartment as part of a drug deal at around 7 p.m.
After settling on a price, Barahona left the apartment with a sample of the marijuana to allegedly show his friends who were waiting outside. Campos then held the apartment building door open in order for Barahona to come back in to make the buy, prosecutors said.
Instead, two masked men allegedly burst through the apartment building door with Barahona and allegedly shoved a gun into Campos’ back. They then forced Campos up the stairwell toward the apartment, prosecutors said.
A witness who happened to be in the apartment saw the masked men on the stairwell—with a gun pointed at Campos—and quickly slammed the door to the drug den before yelling “get the strap,” according to prosecutors.
Seconds later, Joe Donias, 36, who lived in the apartment and owned some of the drugs, allegedly fired a pistol through a wall from inside the apartment and a bullet struck Campos in the torso, causing his death, police and prosecutors said.
Katz said that Barahona’s scheme to steal thousands of dollars worth of marijuana eventually ended with the death of Campos.
“The armed heist delved into chaos when a gun was fired and the victim, who was being held at gunpoint, was killed,” Katz said.
“Now a young man is being mourned by his family and this defendant faces very serious charges for his alleged actions.”
Barahona faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted and was ordered back to court on Tuesday.
Campos had recently graduated high school and was enrolled in Queens College, with aspirations of becoming an air traffic controller, according to the New York Daily News. He had also worked in a Forest Hills orthodontic office.
Meanwhile, Donias was arrested by police in February on charges of manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of cannabis and violation of local law.
No other arrests have been made in the case, police said.