Authorities say Nando Perez was apparently dissatisfied over a home foreclosure and had previously yelled at 65-year-old Charles Zolot inside his office on 82nd Street in Jackson Heights.
The investigation uncovered that Perez and his brother were caught on building surveillance cameras entering with Zolot the night before the body was found, police said.
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Zolot's body was found by the cleaning staff, and an autopsy revealed he had been stabbed more than 20 times.
Perez, who has five prior arrests, is charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
"This is a brutal crime that has stunned our community," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. "The defendant is accused of confronting the victim in his law office, stabbing him repeatedly and then leaving him to die."
When they first heard the news, other lawyers in the building figured Zolot died of natural causes. But as the day went on, it became clear that wasn't the case.
Zolot was supposed to be in Queens Supreme Court Thursday on a case. According to the website for Zolot's business, he was a divorce and child custody lawyer and also handled real estate disputes.
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Fellow lawyers who also had offices in the building said a member of the clerical staff reported feeling frightened by one of Zolot's clients.
"As a lawyer, you're always afraid of some clients that could get really upset with you, and we're living in a very crazy time when people get very agitated very quickly," attorney Mark Drucker said.
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