Handyman David Bonola pleads guilty in death of Queens mother stabbed more than 55 times

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Wednesday, November 2, 2022
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The handyman accused of stabbing a woman to death and stuffing her body into a hockey bag plead guilty to manslaughter. N.J. Burkett has the story.

FOREST HILLS, Queens (WABC) -- The handyman accused of stabbing a woman to death and stuffing her body into a hockey bag plead guilty to manslaughter Wednesday morning.

Forty-four-year-old David Bonola appeared in Queens Criminal court and pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 55-year-old Orsolya Gaal.

"This heinous killing devastated an entire family, left two boys without a mother, and horrified the surrounding community," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. "I want to thank my prosecutors for their exhaustive efforts in securing this plea. In pleading guilty, the defendant has accepted responsibility and is being held fully accountable for his criminal actions. We express our sincerest condolences to the victim's family and hope that today's plea will allow them to begin to heal."

Bonola and Orsolya Gaal had an off-and-on "intimate affair" for two years before he stabbed her to death, stuffed her body in a duffel bag, and dragged it to a location beneath the Jackie Robinson Parkway, "leaving a bloody trail through the streets of Forest Hills," the NYPD said.

Bonola arrived in the United States 21 years ago and was described as a handyman who had performed work at Gaal's house beginning two years ago.

He showed up at Gaal's home late one night in April to speak to her about their relationship, according to police. There were no signs of forced entry, and police say he was either let in or used a key hidden inside a barbecue.

At some point, Bonola and Gaal began arguing, and he pulled a knife and stabbed her "ruthlessly and brutally" over 55 times, Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

Gaal's youngest son was upstairs unaware of what was going on at the time.

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Surveillance video showed Bonola rolling the duffel bag that contained Gaal's body down the street just before daybreak.

He disposed of the body near Forest Park in Queens and fled through the park where investigators discovered his jacket. Later that week, Bonola approached officers and voluntarily agreed to go to the 112 Precinct.

Bonola pleaded guilty Wednesday to first degree manslaughter in a plea bargain with Queens prosecutors, who dropped the murder charge. Under the deal, he will be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Former prosecutor David Schwartz says avoiding a trial makes sense.

"If you win at trial on a murder, you get 25 to life," Schwartz said. "Or we could plead the case out to a manslaughter and it's 25 years, but the family can move on. And this happens all the time."

Gaal's husband ignored reporters outside his home Wednesday afternoon. The family is expected to make a statement in court when Bonola is sentenced in two weeks.

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