Man accused of dumping Frank Vallelonga Jr.’s body skips court; judge orders arrest
The man accused of dumping the body of Bronx-born actor and restaurateur Frank Vallelonga Jr. blew off his hearing in criminal court on Wednesday, prompting a judge to set a warrant for his arrest.
Steven Smith’s lawyer, Rumzi Araj, who appeared in court alone, said he could not reach Smith after he failed to check in multiple times for his supervised release.
Prosecutors said they’re planning a grand jury hearing next week to present evidence.
Smith, 35, is accused of loading the corpse of Vallelonga into a gray 2021 Hyundai Elantra, leased by the victim’s brother, driving off and then dumping the body on a sidewalk in Hunts Point in the early morning hours of Nov. 28., according to a criminal complaint.
Vallelonga was the son of a Copacabana bouncer played by Viggo Mortensen in the Oscar-winning movie “Green Book” and the brother of an Academy-Award winning filmmaker.
According to Smith, a woman named Pam told him someone overdosed inside the car. Smith confessed to driving off in the vehicle and leaving the body behind, a criminal complaint alleged.
Vallelonga’s brother, Nick, had not given anyone permission to use the vehicle.
“I got the body out by pulling him out of the car on the floor,” Smith allegedly told cops. “I don’t know the guy at all.”
Smith was arrested the day after police discovered Vallelonga’s body and slapped with eight charges including concealment of a human corpse, possession of a stolen vehicle and grand larceny. The judge ordered supervised released without bail at his initial arraignment in Bronx criminal court.
Smith lives in a Bronx homeless shelter, cops said.
Vallelonga’s ex-wife, Angela Vallelonga, previously told the Daily News she was horrified by Smith’s callous actions.
“That’s the part that hurts. You lose all faith in mankind,” she said. “I just can’t believe someone could do that. What kind of person do you have to be?”
A spokesperson for the City Medical Examiner’s office said that Vallelonga’s official cause of death had not been determined as of Wednesday.