Two Former New York City Police Detectives Sentenced to Five Years’ Probation for Having Sex with Woman in Their Custody in Exchange for Her Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 10, 2019

 

Two Former New York City Police Detectives Sentenced to
Five Years’ Probation for Having Sex with Woman in
Their Custody in Exchange for Her Release

Sentenced Under Plea Offer Made by the Court; Prosecutors Requested Prison Time

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two former New York City Police detectives were sentenced to five years’ probation following their guilty plea to bribe receiving and official misconduct for having sex inside a police van with a young woman they had arrested, before releasing her without authorization and without reporting the arrest. Prosecutors requested a term of incarceration.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants lost their jobs and are now convicted felons because of the appalling abuse of power to which they admitted. This incident led to a change in New York law, closing a loophole that allowed officers to claim that sex with a detainee was consensual. Unfortunately, we could not apply that new law retroactively. While my Office recommended prison time, we accept the Court’s sentence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Eddie Martins, 39, and Richard Hall, 34, who were formerly assigned to the NYPD’s Brooklyn South Narcotics. They were sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to five years’ probation following their guilty plea in August to the entire indictment against them – two counts of third-degree bribe receiving and nine counts of official misconduct. The District Attorney’s Office requested a term of incarceration of one to three years. However, since the defendants pleaded guilty to the entire indictment the Court offered this non-custodial disposition.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on September 15, 2017, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the defendants, who were on-duty and riding in a Dodge Caravan, working as part of a team of plainclothes detectives assigned to Brooklyn South Narcotics and conducting a buy and bust operation in the confines of the 60th Precinct, left their post without authorization and drove to Calvert Vaux Park in Gravesend, Brooklyn.

Just after 8 p.m., the officers conducted a car stop of an Infinity Coupe driven by an 18-year-old woman with two male passengers. There was a quantity of marijuana in the front seat cup holder. The officers instructed the three occupants to step out of the car and asked if they had any drugs on them, according to the investigation. The young woman responded she had marijuana and two Klonopin pills. The detectives handcuffed the woman, told her she was under arrest and would be getting a desk appearance ticket. They let her companions go, the evidence showed.

After leaving the park, while inside the police van, the woman had sexual intercourse with Martins and performed a sex act on Hall, according to the evidence. The defendants then drove back to the vicinity of the 60th Precinct in Coney Island and released the woman, giving her back the Klonopin pills. They did not report the incident to their supervisor or to anyone else and had no authority to rescind the arrest or to release the detainee, according to the indictment.

DNA recovered from the woman was a match to both of the defendants. Video surveillance shows the woman exiting the police van at approximately 8:42 p.m., the investigation found.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano, First Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, Senior Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nasar, of the Special Victims Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Anthea Bruffee, First Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Appeals Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph P. Alexis, Chief of the Trial Division.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Murder Conviction In Connection With 1993 Shootout Outside Housing Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 3, 2019

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Murder Conviction
In Connection With 1993 Shootout Outside Housing Development

One of Two Sole Eyewitnesses Credibly Recanted and the Second – Her Sister –
Incredibly Claimed She Doesn’t Recall the Incident

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that following a thorough investigation by his Conviction Review Unit (CRU), he will move to vacate the murder and assault conviction against Carlos Weeks, 46, who has been incarcerated since 1993. The investigation found that the testimony from the only eyewitnesses who identified him as the person who fatally shot the male victim and wounded a 10-year-old girl cannot be credited. One of them credibly recanted her testimony and the other claimed she has no recollection of the incident.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “An extensive investigation into this old case revealed that the two witnesses who identified Mr. Weeks as the shooter were not credible. Accordingly, we cannot stand by this conviction and will release the defendant, who spent 26 years behind bars. I would like to thank the prosecutors from my Conviction Review Unit for their persistence in this case. Their sole mission is to investigate questionable convictions and they will continue this crucial work in an effort to correct every miscarriage of justice that happened in Brooklyn.”

Weeks will appear in court today at 2:15 p.m. before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo at 320 Jay Street, 15th floor.

The District Attorney said that on July 6, 1993, a shootout between two small groups of men broke out in front of a building in the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Frank Davis, 21, was fatally shot and a 10-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire was seriously wounded. Police recovered shell casings from three different guns.

Ten days after the incident, a man named Marshall Taylor, who was arrested in East New York on an unrelated matter, told the authorities that in the prior week, the defendant approached him while he was pumping gas and confessed that he, with two accomplices, committed the fatal shooting in retaliation against a group that had robbed them.

Less than an hour after he made the statement, Marshall’s mother, Carmella Taylor, was brought to the precinct and stated that she lived in a building adjacent to the scene of the shooting and that she saw the defendant, who she knew from the building, firing a gun. Shortly thereafter, Carmella’s sister, Lorraine Taylor, also provided a statement, saying she was in the same 12th floor apartment with her sister, heard shots, ran downstairs with her sister (to look for their children who were playing outside) and saw the defendant throw a gun inside a car and drive off.

Both sisters identified the defendant in a lineup. In subsequent testimony, both stated that they saw the defendant shooting when they looked out of the 12th floor window and Carmella added that, after she ran down the stairs to the first floor, she saw the defendant run into the building. Other testimony indicated that three men were shooting at the victims with the deceased and his friend returning fire.

About a year after Weeks’ indictment on the charges, Marshall Taylor committed suicide while incarcerated. (CRU discovered that his picture appeared in two photo arrays that were prepared in connection with the homicide but it’s unclear if he was ever considered a suspect.) At the 1995 trial, both Taylor sisters initially refused to testify and did so only after material witness orders were issued.

The defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree assault. He was sentenced to 27½ years to life in prison.

The CRU made repeated attempts to interview the Taylor sisters. Lorraine was initially reluctant to speak and, when reminded by investigators of her account, she was asked by her husband, who was present, if she saw that much of what transpired. Lorraine then teared up and said “no” and “there was so much pressure.” In subsequent interviews she admitted that she never saw the faces of any of the shooters and went to the precinct to help her nephew Marshall Taylor. She said that she felt pressured to testify at trial and was receiving threats that made her want to relocate – something that was promised in exchange for her testimony.

After multiple attempts by the CRU to speak with Carmella, she claimed that she did not remember the 1993 shooting or testifying about it – a claim CRU discredited as implausible. The defendant was also interviewed by CRU. He claimed that he and two friends were robbed at gun point by the deceased and the friend who was with him at the time of the shootout. He added that he wasn’t involved in the shooting and drove up to the scene after it ended. An examination of the 12th floor window suggested that it was likely that trees and the distance hindered the sisters’ view of the shooting, but whether they could see the shooter remained inconclusive because the height of trees may have increased in the past 26 years.

The CRU concluded that Lorraine’s recantation was credible and supported by the record: she was reluctant to testify at trial, both sisters were relocated after testifying, no other evidence corroborated their account and it strains credulity that the shooter would still be fleeing the scene by the time the sisters finished running down 12 flights of stairs or that the person the defendant spontaneously confessed to would be related to the only eyewitnesses to the crime. Accordingly, DA Gonzalez will move to vacate the conviction and dismiss the underlying indictment against Mr. Weeks.

To date, the work of the Conviction Review Unit has resulted in 27 convictions being vacated. In addition, the CRU has found that of the cases reviewed thus far, 80 convictions are just and will not be recommended to be vacated. Approximately 80 cases are pending review.

This case was referred to CRU by Davis Polk LLC and The Legal Aid Society.

This case was investigated by Assistant District Attorney Michael Trabulsi, formerly of the District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, with the assistance of Bruce Alderman and Lori Glachman, also of CRU, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale, Chief of the District Attorney’s Post-Conviction Justice Bureau, and the overall supervision of Tali Farhadian Weinstein, General Counsel.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces Project Reset in Partnership with the Center for Court Innovation and the Brooklyn Museum To Allow Those Arrested for Certain Minor Offenses to Avoid Prosecution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces Project Reset in
Partnership with the Center for Court Innovation and the Brooklyn Museum
To Allow Those Arrested for Certain Minor Offenses to Avoid Prosecution

Arts-Based Educational Course and Other Programming are Offered In Lieu of Prosecution;
Cases Get Dismissed Upon Completion and Without Court Appearance

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Project Reset, a diversion program that holds people accountable for minor crimes without prosecuting them, has been launched in Brooklyn and includes a first-of-its-kind arts-based educational course at the Brooklyn Museum, a recognized leader in the field of arts education. Conducted in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation (CCI), the Brooklyn Museum, The Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defender Services, Project Reset allows those charged with certain misdemeanors who receive a desk appearance ticket (DAT) to resolve their cases by completing a diversionary course without ever having to set foot in court.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Project Reset aligns with my commitment to reduce our reliance on convictions and incarceration while still holding offenders accountable. This program addresses the conduct of those who commit misdemeanor offenses and confronts the consequences of their actions in a more meaningful way than traditional court sanctions. I am especially proud that we have partnered with the Brooklyn Museum because involving our local communities and Brooklyn’s incredible cultural institutions as partners in justice is one of my goals as we strive to strengthen fairness and trust. This partnership helps harness the transformative power of art as a response to low-level crimes. With the forthcoming expansion of DAT arrests under the new criminal justice reform law taking effect next year, this program will help us handle misdemeanors more efficiently and equitably while reducing the footprint of the criminal justice system.”

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, “As we work together to move away from an overly punitive criminal justice system, Project Reset is a key component in providing alternatives to traditional criminal prosecution. These community-based diversion programs are a fair and proportionate solution to arrests for low level offenses, and they are also highly effective, since participants are less than half as likely to be arrested as their peers. The Council is committed to this successful program. We reached an agreement with the Administration to fund Project Reset citywide, with a $710,000 allocation from the Council and $3.2 million allocation from the Administration. I commend District Attorney Gonzalez and the Center for Court Innovation for their leadership in this work.”

Adam Mansky, Director of Criminal Justice at the Center for Court Innovation said, “The Center for Court Innovation is pleased to work with our longtime partner, the Brooklyn DA’s Office, to launch Project Reset throughout Brooklyn. Project Reset is a new way of responding to low-level offending that is appropriate, meaningful, and proportionate, and wholly avoids the threat of jail, warrant, or conviction. By diverting people out of the criminal justice system and into community-based programming, Project Reset will make justice in Brooklyn more humane and effective. The Center for Court Innovation is grateful to the City Council and Speaker Johnson for supporting this important work.”

David Berliner, President and Chief Operating Officer, Brooklyn Museum, said, “We’re so thrilled to announce this innovative collaboration with the Center for Court Innovation. At the Brooklyn Museum, we’ve long been committed to programs that champion social justice issues, and this partnership provides a meaningful way for the arts to play a unique and critical role in criminal justice reform.”

The District Attorney said that Project Reset launched on May 20, 2019 in all 10 Brooklyn North precincts and expanded to the entire borough on August 5, 2019. Under this initiative, all individuals arrested for certain misdemeanors, including criminal mischief, petit larceny, disorderly conduct and others, who receive a DAT are screened for eligibility. Their assigned counsel will receive an email about the arrest from the Brooklyn DA’s Office giving counsel seven days to conduct outreach and consultation with the prospective participant. During the course of the next three to four weeks, and before the scheduled court appearance to answer the charges, the participants will have to complete appropriate programming.

The Brooklyn Museum offers two courses – one for young adults up to age 25 and another for adults age 26 and up. During the immersive, two-hour curriculum that was created for Project Reset, participants view, analyze and discuss a work of art from the Museum’s permanent collection in a group setting, and learn about its origins and meaning. The discussion is led by teaching artists, whose own work centers around themes of social justice and prison reform. Participants then work independently to create their own artwork in response to the discussion in an effort to learn about accepting responsibility and changing one’s personal narrative while simultaneously being exposed to art and cultural offerings within their community.

Another offering is being held at the Downtown Brooklyn offices of Brooklyn Justice Initiatives (BJI), a project of CCI. Tools for New Thinking is a 90-minute session providing space for adult participants, working with social workers, to identify and discuss situations that they feel escalated unnecessarily and resulted in regrettable outcomes, while learning how their values and thoughts can lead to better outcomes. Participants who can benefit from tailored services based on their particular needs, are offered an individual session with BJI.

If a person completes the session, representatives of BJI notify the Brooklyn DA’s Office, which then declines to prosecute the arrest. The case is then sealed, and the person never has to appear in court. Participants have access to defense attorneys throughout the process.

The list of misdemeanors currently accepted for Project Reset is as follows: Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, Criminal Trespass in the Second and Third Degrees, Criminal Tampering in the Third Degree, Reckless Endangerment of Property, Making Graffiti, Possession of Graffiti Instruments, Petit Larceny, Theft of Services, Unauthorized Sale of Certain Transportation Services, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, Trademark Counterfeiting in the Third Degree, Forgery in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree, Promoting Gambling in the Second Degree, Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct.

Since the launch of the program, 182 people completed Project Reset (51 of them completed a session in the Brooklyn Museum) and had their cases dismissed. They represent over 50% of eligible individuals. It is estimated that more than 1,000 cases are eligible annually.

Project Reset started in 2015 as a pilot in Brooklyn for 16- and 17-year-olds. An evaluation of that pilot found that participants were significantly less likely than defendants in a comparison group to be convicted of a new crime within one year. It also documented improved case processing times and case outcomes, as well as positive perceptions of the program, with more than 95% of participants saying they had made the right decision by entering the program and that they would recommend it to someone in a similar situation. Project Reset has since expanded to serve all ages and the program has been implemented in Manhattan and a number of precincts in the Bronx. Brooklyn is the only borough where all defendants who receive DATs are eligible without restrictions.

The program is in alignment with Justice 2020, DA Gonzalez’s plan of action aimed at keeping Brooklyn safe and strengthening community trust by ensuring fairness and equal justice for all, which calls for, among other things, “making jail the alternative.”

Project Reset is being funded through appropriations from the New York City Council as well as private funding from the Cohen Foundation, the Tow Foundation, and the Art for Justice Fund.

Project Reset is being directed by Senior Assistant District Attorney Karen Varriale, of the District Attorney’s Alternatives to Incarceration Unit, under the overall supervision of Meg Reiss, Chief of Social Justice.

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Note: a video about the program can be viewed here.

 

Brooklyn Man Charged with Murder and Reckless Endangerment for Deliberately Chasing Down and Crashing His Car into Cyclist

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 27, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Charged with Murder and Reckless Endangerment for Deliberately Chasing Down and Crashing His Car into Cyclist

Alleges He Saw Victim Breaking into Defendant’s SUV

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 41-year-old Brooklyn man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with murder and reckless endangerment for deliberately running over a cyclist in Bushwick who he allegedly observed breaking into his car.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Rather than call the police when he allegedly saw a crime being committed, this defendant allegedly turned his car into a deadly weapon and needlessly took a life. Lawless behavior cannot be tolerated, and we will now seek to hold this defendant accountable for his actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Korey Johnson, 41, of Ocean Hill, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree reckless endangerment. The defendant was remanded without bail and ordered to return to court on December 6, 2019. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, on September 3, 2019, at approximately 6 a.m., the defendant allegedly saw Donald Roberts, 47, breaking into the defendant’s 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on Broadway near Ellery Street in Bushwick. It is alleged that the defendant entered his car and chased after the victim as he biked off, deliberately speeding down Broadway and entering oncoming traffic during the pursuit. It is alleged that the defendant intentionally drove his Jeep into the victim, striking him from behind and crashing his SUV into a row of parked cars before the car flipped onto its side.

The victim was taken to Woodhull Hospital where he died from severe blunt force trauma. Police arrested the defendant at the scene of the accident after he was extracted from his vehicle.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Chow Xie of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Bureau Chief.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Man Indicted for Practicing as a Neuropsychologist Without a License and Treating at Least 12 People, Including Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 26, 2019

 

Man Indicted for Practicing as a Neuropsychologist Without a
License and Treating at Least 12 People, Including Children

Defendant Maintained Offices in Brooklyn Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens;
Defendant’s Girlfriend, Who Allegedly Ran Office, Also Charged

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Los Angeles man, who used to reside in Nassau County, has been indicted for pretending to be a neuropsychologist and treating patients in Brooklyn over several years. The defendant is not licensed to practice medicine or psychology in New York or elsewhere.

District Attorney Gonzalez said “It is unbelievable that someone would put patients, including children, at risk by pretending to be qualified to diagnose and treat them. The alleged conduct in this case is truly outrageous and potentially endangered vulnerable people. I urge anyone who believes they have been defrauded by these defendants to contact my Action Center at 718-250-2340.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Glenn Payne, 59, of Los Angeles, California. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik on a 55-count indictment in which he and a co-defendant, Vernette Tobierre, his office manager, are variously charged with fifth-degree conspiracy, first-degree scheme to defraud, unauthorized practice of a profession, unauthorized use of a professional title, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and endangering the welfare of a child. Payne was ordered held on $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash bail and to return to court on October 30, 2019. Tobierre, who is 46, was arraigned on this matter on January 14, 2019 and her next court date is October 25, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between June 5, 2012 and May 30, 2018, Payne allegedly illegally practiced neuropsychology on children, adolescents and adults, operating under the auspices of The Brooklyn Heights Office of Advanced Neurotherapy out of various locations, including 300 Cadman Plaza West, the Maple Medical Office Building on Bedford Avenue and the offices of the non-profit Kings Against Violence Initiative at Kings County Medical Center. Payne falsely claimed to have a Masters of Public Health and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

It is alleged that Tobierre acted as the general office manager and receptionist for the practice, collecting cash and electronic payments on behalf of the “Office of Dr. Glenn Payne” as well as scheduling patient appointments, faxing and emailing correspondence, answering the phone and communicating with patients.

It is alleged that patients were referred to Payne from pediatricians or friends in the medical field for assistance with troubled children, according to the indictment, and appointments were scheduled by Tobierre, who was introduced as Payne’s wife or assistant. She informed the patients or their parents that he did not accept medical insurance and all payments had to be made in cash, using Chase QuickPay or by electronic transfer. Patients were charged between $60 and $250 per session.

Finally, it is alleged, the defendant falsely claimed to have affiliations with Kings County Medical Center and SUNY Downstate Hospital.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Deidre Moskowitz of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Senior Assistant District Attorney Laura Neubauer, also of the Frauds Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Gavin Miles, Counsel to the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt

Brooklyn Soccer Coach Sentenced to Four Years in Prison For Molesting 10-Year-Old Boy on His Team

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

 

Brooklyn Soccer Coach Sentenced to Four Years in Prison
For Molesting Young Boy on His Team

Child was Abused on Multiple Occasions in Park Bathroom After Practice;
Second Victim, a Teenage Relative, Discovered During Course of Investigation

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 41-year-old former soccer coach has been sentenced to four years in prison following his guilty plea earlier this month to course of sexual conduct against a child and other charges in connection to the molestation of two boys.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s actions are an upsetting and shocking betrayal of trust. This defendant molested a boy on his team and his own relative who both had every expectation to believe they would be safe with him. I remain steadfast in my commitment to bringing sexual predators who target our children to justice.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Pablo Pineda, 41, of Mott Haven, the Bronx. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Barry Warhit to four years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. The defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child, forcible touching, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and failure to register as a sex offender before Justice Warhit on September 10, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on several occasions between July 1, 2017 and April 27, 2018, at Friends Field, located on East 4th Street near Avenue L, in Midwood, Brooklyn, the defendant molested a boy on his team multiple times beginning when he was 9 and continuing to age 10. The child was molested and exposed to pornography in a park bathroom after soccer practice.

The victim’s mother filed a police report on June 20, 2018, after she discovered text messages from an unknown number asking the victim to go to the movies and not tell his mother. The defendant was arrested the following day.

Investigators who discovered inappropriate text messages on the defendant’s phone later learned that the defendant molested a teenage relative between May and June 2018.

The defendant was supposed to be registered as a sex offender stemming from a 2005 conviction in Texas involving child sexual abuse.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cohen, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder of Manhattan Chef

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 20, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder of Manhattan Chef

Victim was Stabbed Multiple Times; Defendant Set Fire to Cover Up Crime

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been convicted of murder, burglary and arson stemming from the January 2016 stabbing death of a popular Manhattan chef inside his home in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. The defendant, who fled following the stabbing, was apprehended in Virginia after four months on the run.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A beloved family man and popular chef was senselessly and brutally murdered in his home. This verdict is a small measure of justice for Romulo Heras’s wife, children and grandchildren. This defendant has now been held accountable for this terrible crime.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jahkeem Scott, 21, of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. He was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder, second-degree arson and first-degree burglary following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison on the top count when he is sentenced next month.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on January 22, 2016 at approximately 9 a.m., the defendant entered the victim’s home through a window on the first floor. The victim, Romulo Heras, 61, was a nighttime chef at Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village in Manhattan and was home asleep at the time.

The defendant, intent on committing a burglary, stabbed the victim 31 times about the body, neck and head. Prior to leaving the apartment, the defendant stole numerous items from the victim’s home, according to the evidence.

Surveillance video footage from inside the apartment building depicts the defendant carrying a laundry bag of items as he leaves the victim’s building, the evidence showed.

To cover up the burglary and resulting murder, the defendant set six separate fires to Heras’s apartment. The victim’s body was discovered by members of the New York City Fire Department who responded to the fire.

The defendant fled to Virginia after the crime and was apprehended in May 2016.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Andy Palacio, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Daniel Murphy, of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to Launch Saturday Night Lights Soccer Program in East Flatbush and Brownsville Through Collaboration with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYC Soccer Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 12, 2019

 

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to Launch Saturday Night Lights Soccer Program in East Flatbush and Brownsville Through Collaboration with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the NYC Soccer Initiative

The Free Program Will Offer Lessons and Games Every Saturday

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced the launch of Saturday Night Lights in East Flatbush and Brownsville, a soccer program in collaboration with the NYC Soccer Initiative and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The free program will begin on September 21, 2019 at the Winthrop Beacon Community Center in East Flatbush. The soccer program is open to boys and girls ages nine to 18.

The weekly sessions will offer an opportunity to learn character building skills by working as a team and with experienced coaches. The program will run every Saturday night from 6 to 9 p.m., year-round.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “In Brooklyn, we are excited that the Saturday Night Lights program, which exists in East New York, is now expanding to East Flatbush and Brownsville, thanks to the generosity of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

“These terrific programs give our children a place to spend their Saturday nights in a safe and productive environment where they not only learn sports and sportsmanship, but help our children build confidence and develop life skills. This is a valuable investment in communities that often lack the resources and facilities to constructively engage young people and complements our existing youth programs such as our Chess Partnership, our Explorers Program, our Anti-Bullying Initiative and our Brooklyn Scholars program.

“The goal of my Justice 2020 Action Plan is to enhance public safety while building community trust. Saturday Night Lights achieves both these goals while reducing the criminal justice footprint.”

There are no academic or pre-registration requirements to participate in the soccer program. Parents can enroll their children at the Winthrop Beacon Community Center, located at 905 Winthrop Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The program is part of a two-year grant awarded to City in the Community, the non-profit organization of the New York City Football Club, by the Manhattan District Attorney, which is funding the program.

For more information on our Saturday Night Lights programs, please visit: http://www.brooklynda.org/youth-initiatives/.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced for Stealing Neighbor’s East New York Home; Transferred Deed to Himself After Forging Notary’s Signature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced for Stealing Neighbor’s East New York Home;
Transferred Deed to Himself After Forging Notary’s Signature

Defendant Befriended Elderly Victim for Whom He Worked as Part-Time Caretaker

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man has been sentenced to five months in jail and five years’ probation for stealing and attempting to sell the home of his 85-year-old neighbor, a diabetic man for whom the defendant was a part-time caretaker.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “With today’s sentencing this defendant is being held accountable for preying on his elderly neighbor and abusing his trust. I urge seniors and their family members to protect their homes, especially as property values continue to rise in Brooklyn, by taking care not to sign any documents pertaining to their properties without the advice of a reputable attorney. I remain committed to prosecuting deed thefts like this and assisting all homeowners whenever possible.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jordan Horsford, 29, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to five months in jail and five years’ probation. The defendant pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny in June and consented to an order nullifying the fraudulent recorded deed.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in August 2016 the defendant, who was known to do odd jobs in the neighborhood, began helping the victim as needed, including carrying his wheelchair up steps and helping him get in and out of vehicles; he was paid for each task by the victim’s family.

In April 2017, the victim’s family began paying the defendant $400 a week to accept Meals on Wheels deliveries and set them out for the victim, to make sure he took his medicine and to check in on him at night.

Between June 19, 2017 and November 1, 2017, the defendant convinced the victim to sign away the deed to his home on Barbey Street in East New York, Brooklyn. The defendant told the victim he risked losing his home if he did not sign a document, and had the document notarized by a notary. The defendant then realized he needed another document notarized, but the notary refused so the defendant cut and pasted her original signature. He then recorded the deed, which had been signed over to him.

Finally, the defendant attempted to sell the house almost immediately after securing the deed, but a title company suspected foul play and refused to insure the home. The would-be purchaser then reached out to the 85-year-old victim’s family. At around the same time, the victim’s daughter, while going through her father’s mail, found a letter from the Department of Finance notifying them about documents filed relating to the property. The daughter pursued the matter with the DOF and the case was ultimately referred to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for further investigation and prosecution.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Karen Turner of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gavin Miles, Counsel to the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces Opening of The Kenneth P. Thompson Boutique Located At The DA’s Re-Entry Bureau in Partnership with 100 Suits for 100 Men

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Announces Opening of
The Kenneth P. Thompson Boutique Located At
The DA’s Re-Entry Bureau in Partnership with 100 Suits for 100 Men

To Provide Men and Women Involved with the Criminal Justice System
With Clothing for Job Interviews and Employment, At No Cost

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with Kevin Livingston, founder and president of 100 Suits for 100 Men, and Mrs. Lu-Shawn Thompson, widow of the late DA Ken Thompson, today announced the grand opening of the Kenneth P. Thompson boutique located in the District Attorney’s Re-Entry Bureau in Downtown Brooklyn. The boutique will offer professional attire, free of charge, to assist men and women recently released from prison or involved with the criminal justice system as they search for and secure employment.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “In Brooklyn, we are committed to strengthening community trust in the criminal justice system and our commitment to justice does not end when a person is released from prison. It is our obligation to aid their reintegration into the community. This boutique is a great tool to help ex-offenders increase their self-esteem and get on the right path with access to professional work attire as they prepare for job interviews and seek to obtain employment.

“The late District Attorney Ken Thompson firmly believed in fairness and second chances and this boutique named in his honor will continue that legacy. I’m proud to partner with Kevin Livingston and 100 Suits for 100 Men in this important endeavor.”

Mr. Livingston said, “We are proud to continue the legacy of service that was a cornerstone of Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson’s administration and forms the basis of our own mission. 100 Suits works with men and women who have justice involvement and having a location inside Brooklyn’s Re-Entry Bureau will greatly improve access to the services we provide.”

Mrs. Thompson said, “My husband would be so proud to have his name associated with 100 Suits for 100 Men and would have been an avid supporter of Kevin Livingston and his amazing work. He would also have been pleased that Eric Gonzalez and the Brooklyn DA’s office are continuing to keep his legacy alive by continuing to make strides in criminal justice reform.”

The Kenneth P. Thompson boutique will provide clothing for job interviews and employment, as well as personal empowerment support for individuals who have been incarcerated or otherwise involved with the criminal justice system. The boutique will be operated by the not-for-profit organization 100 Suits for 100 Men, and will provide its services free of charge, primarily to individuals enrolled in the District Attorney’s re-entry programs.

This partnership reflects DA Gonzalez’s commitment to strengthen his office’s work in re-entry programs. The Re-Entry Bureau currently includes three case management-based programs serving individuals who have been convicted of offenses and may have experienced incarceration or another form of removal from the community. The Kings County Re-Entry Task Force is a partnership with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (Brooklyn Region) that serves 300 individuals. ComAlert (Community and Law Enforcement Resources Together) serves a similar number of clients and is growing. The Gender-responsive Re-entry Assistance and Support Program (GRASP) serves younger people, primarily women.

100 Suits for 100 Men has operated programs throughout New York City and has sites in Harlem and Jamaica, Queens. This is its first permanent location in Brooklyn and the first time it has partnered with a DA’s office to establish a permanent location.

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