NYC man pleads guilty in 1976 cold case killing of WWI vet
NEW YORK - A Queens man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killing of a WWI veteran who went missing in 1976.
81-year-old George Clarence Seitz had left his Jamaica, Queens home on Dec. 10, 1976, to get a haircut and never returned.
Seitz's disappearance became a missing persons case and remained unsolved for over 40 years, until 2019, when an NYPD detective got a tip about a murder.
The tip led investigators to dig up property in Richmond Hill, Queens, and the discovery of human remains that would turn out to be those of the missing war veteran.
Investigators used forensic tools and technology not available in the 1970s to identify the human remains. In addition to DNA, the FBI helped the Queens District Attorney's office by using genealogy to find Seitz's living relatives. Such work is usually reserved for identifying criminals, but this time was used to identify a victim.
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Authorities say Martin Motta stabbed Seitz in the head after he robbed him of approximately $7,000 to $8,000. He killed, dismembered, and buried Seitz.
Motta, 74, who owned a barbershop in Queens during the 1970s, was charged with killing Seitz. Investigators say they believe the pair knew each other, and Seitz was Motta's customer.
Seitz was known to carry large sums of cash and apparently did so on that day.
Motta faces 20 years in prison when a judge sentences him on Nov. 7.