2007_03_ramen.jpgThe Queens DA's office has charged a man in the murder of 20-year-old Natasha Ramen. And it turns out that Hemant Megnath had raped Ramen in 2005; police believe the Megnath slashed Ramen's throat last Thursday to keep her from testifying about the rape.

In May 2005, Ramen had been apartment-hunting and was introduced to a fellow Guyanese immigrant, Megnath, who had been working for a broker. Megnath took her to his Brooklyn apartment and raped her Ramen did not tell police about the rape until Januray 2006, and in February, Megnath was "arrested, charged with rape, and freed on $5,000 bail". Though Megnath was told not to contact Ramen, he stalked her and threatened her relatives.

Last Thursday, when Ramen was leaving her Queens apartment for her job in Long Island City, Megnath grabbed her and slit her throat. Her landlady found Ramen and called 911. Ramen said she knew who killed her, but wasn't able to speak; she died after 14 hours. Megnath, who was suspected immediately, was arrested yesterday, at the home of a co-worker. He was charged with first- and second-degree murder.

Ramen's aunt spoke to the Daily News:

"My God. What was he doing walking the street. He made threatening calls. He text-messaged her, too. We reported it to the police. He told her that if she didn't drop the charges, he was going to kill her and her husband. Her husband got a text message the day she was murdered: 'One gone, one more to go.' The judge gave him more than enough time to kill her. The system failed her."

Her uncle Narine Bharat told the Post, "What goes around comes around. If not in this life, then the next life, he will get the same."

Queens DA Richard Brown said, "This is a terribly sad and tragic case — not only in terms of the victim’s violent death but also because of the degradation and humiliation that she had allegedly previously suffered at the hands of the defendant." The Brooklyn DA's office declined to comment about the rape case and questions about bail.

Ramen is to be buried in Guyana. Megnath's trial date is April 10.