New York man charged with murder in 1976 cold case of World War I veteran

NYC man, 74, wears hearing aid in court as he is charged with murdering and maiming World War I veteran, then burying his body in a backyard in Queens 45 years ago

  • Martin Motta, 74, appeared in court in New York City on Friday afternoon
  • He is accused of murdering and dismembering George Seitz in 1976
  • Seitz was an 81-year-old WWI veteran on his way to the barbershop
  • He was attacked by Motta, then dismembered and placed in a backyard
  • His remains were reported to police in 2019 by an anonymous tip that named Martin Motta as the killer
  • Motta owned the barbershop where Seitz planned to get his hair cut
  • The older man had PTSD and carried all his money with him – Motta stole it from him and then killed him










A 74-year-old New York City man accused of murdering and dismembering a World War I veteran, then burying his body parts 45 years ago in a backyard in Queens.

Martin Motta, 74, has been charged with the death of George Clarence Seitz in December 1976, who disappeared on his way to the barbershop.

The crime was solved after an anonymous caller called the police in 2019 to report exactly where the George’s remains were located.

The caller was the person who lived in the house where he was buried. They didn’t know who the victim was or why Motta chose their home to place Seitz’s body.

Seitz was 81 when he was murdered. He had had PTSD.

Martin Motta, 74, will appear in court Friday afternoon in Queens, New York, charged with the murder of World War I veteran George Seitz in 1976.

George Seitz is shown in a photo taken while serving in the military between 1914 and 1918. He was 81 when he died in 1976

George Seitz is shown in a photo taken while serving in the military between 1914 and 1918. He was 81 when he died in 1976

He ran out of his house to go to the hairdresser’s and was robbed and then murdered by Motta, who would have been 29 at the time.

Partial remains — a pelvis and torso — of Seitz were found buried in a plastic bag under concrete in a backyard in Richmond Hill in March 2019.

Although his cause of death has not been released, authorities say his body was dismembered in the neck, shoulders and hips.

After more than two years of investigation using a comprehensive genealogy profile, witness interviews and searches in five states, police found “critical evidence” linking Motta to Seitz’s death.

Seitz was last seen leaving his home in Jamaica at 10 a.m. on December 10, 1976. He was reportedly on his way to a nearby barbershop for a haircut.

His whereabouts remained unknown until 2019 when the trunk and pelvis were discovered.

At the time, the coroner compared DNA samples from the remains with local, state and national databases, but yielded no results.

Motta will be shown in court today.  He had to get a hearing aid to listen to the judge

Motta will be shown in court today.  He had to get a hearing aid to listen to the judge

Motta will be shown in court today. He had to get a hearing aid to listen to the judge

Seitz's remains were found in March 2019, buried in the backyard of a Richmond Hill home.  His body was dismembered at the neck, shoulders and hips

Seitz’s remains were found in March 2019, buried in the backyard of a Richmond Hill home. His body was dismembered at the neck, shoulders and hips

In February 2021, nearly two years later, a private lab was called in to use the DNA evidence and develop a genealogical profile of the victim.

The FBI, the Queens District Attorney and the NYPD then used that profile to find the victim’s potential relatives.

Officials contacted the potential relatives, obtained DNA samples for comparison, and eventually identified the discovered remains as Seitz’s property.

“The officers of the NYPD Criminal Investigation Department, the Homicide and Cold Cases Departments, and the highly trained forensic units never forget and never give up,” said Police Commissioner Shea.

“Here again, this case demonstrates that, no matter how much time passes, our police officers and partners in the Queens District Attorney’s Office have been committed to bringing justice to crime victims and their families in New York City for decades.”

Authorities have not specified how Seitz was murdered and the charges against Motta do not indicate a cause of death.

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