Former Police Officer Sentenced to Jail and Probation For Off-Duty Road Rage Assault

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

 

Former Police Officer Sentenced to Jail and Probation
For Off-Duty Road Rage Assault

Struck Motorist with Pistol and Handcuffs, Causing Him to Receive Stitches; Fled the Scene

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a former New York City Police Officer has been sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years’ probation. He was convicted of assault, weapons possession, reckless driving and other charges for attacking a motorist on New Year’s Day 2018. The defendant was fired from the police department upon his conviction in March.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “There is no place on the streets of Brooklyn for road rage. This defendant’s aggressive and violent behavior escalated to an assault – criminal conduct that was made worse by the fact that he was a police officer at the time. He has now been held accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Michael Baror, 25, formerly of Transit District 32. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to 60 days jail and five years’ probation over the objection of prosecutors, who asked that the defendant be sentenced to one year in jail. He must also pay a total of $450 in fines. The defendant was convicted of second-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, reckless driving, improper use of a siren and improper display of plates following a jury trial in March 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on January 1, 2018, at approximately 10:30 p.m., at Avenue N and Bedford Avenue, the defendant was driving his personal vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee that was illegally equipped with lights and sirens. He was flashing his high beams at a car in front of him and rear-ended it. He then got out of the car, pulled out his pistol and pistol-whipped the other driver, a 29-year-old man. He also repeatedly struck the victim in the face with handcuffs before getting back in his vehicle and driving away.

The victim followed the defendant. The victim’s girlfriend, who was also in the vehicle, called 911 and remained on the phone during the chase. While the victim’s girlfriend was reporting the plate number to the 911 operator, the defendant concealed his license plate with an electronic device. Both vehicles were speeding and running red lights and the victim eventually crashed into the defendant’s vehicle. Police were at the scene within minutes, but the defendant had fled the scene. He did not report the incident to police or his supervisors. The defendant was arrested the following day and a search of his vehicle revealed that he removed the lights and sirens. The defendant, who is seen on surveillance video with a thick beard and hair on his head during the incident, had shaved his head and beard by the time police arrived to arrest him.

The victim sustained injuries to the mouth that required stitches, swelling and bruising about the face and head, a contusion to his head, a cut to the nose, and an injured shoulder.

The case was investigated by NYPD Sergeant John Pietanza of the Internal Affairs Bureau Group 34.

KCDA Paralegal Michael Chung assisted with the prosecution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Chief of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau (formerly of the Civil Rights Bureau) and Senior Assistant District Attorney Prabhalya Pulim, also of the Hate Crimes Bureau (formerly of the Civil Rights Bureau), under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph P. Alexis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Trial Division.

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NYPD Officer Indicted for Perjury for Allegedly Falsely Claiming Burglary Suspect Tried to Strike Him and His Partner with Vehicle

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

 

NYPD Officer Indicted for Perjury for Allegedly Falsely
Claiming Burglary Suspect Tried to Strike Him and His Partner with Vehicle

Swore He Saw Suspect Back Up and Almost Hit PO’s Partner,
Then Drive Forward and Narrowly Miss Hitting Officer

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that a New York City Police Department officer has been indicted for perjury, making a false written statement and official misconduct for allegedly lying in a criminal court complaint and in the grand jury and for allegedly falsely arresting an individual.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We allege that this police officer’s actions led to an individual being falsely accused of crimes that he did not commit. All of us who work in law enforcement rely on the truthfulness and integrity of our police officers – it is integral to our commitment to safety and equal justice. We will now seek to hold this officer accountable.”

Commissioner O’Neill said, “The dedicated police officers of the NYPD make a solemn pledge to abide by the greatest standards of conduct, and uphold the law. If an officer fails to meet those standards, they must be held to account.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Police Officer Michael Bergman, 34, who has been an NYPD officer for approximately six years and who is currently assigned to the NYPD’s Grand Larceny Division. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of first-degree perjury, one count of second-degree perjury, one count of making a false statement and one count of official misconduct. The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 7, 2019.

On February 1, 2019, Officer Bergman and his partner, who were assigned to the Grand Larceny Division, were on patrol on 65th Street between Second and Third Avenues in the confines of the 72nd Precinct, according to the investigation. They pulled up in their unmarked police car alongside the vehicle of a burglary suspect whom Officer Bergman recognized who had just parallel parked with the intention of arresting him for driving without a valid license.

After stopping their unmarked police car alongside the suspect’s car, both officers exited their vehicle. Officer Bergman allegedly claimed in a criminal complaint and in grand jury testimony that the suspect then backed up his car, nearly striking his partner who was located near the rear of the vehicle, then drove the car forward, causing Officer Bergman – who was directly in front of the car between its headlights — to dive to the ground to avoid being hit as the suspect drove away. Officer Bergman allegedly claimed he suffered slight abrasions to his elbow as a result of his fall to the ground.

The suspect was arrested two days later and charged with various counts of attempted assault and reckless endangerment relating to this February 1, 2019 incident and separately charged with two unrelated burglaries. He was subsequently indicted for what occurred during the February 1, 2019 incident on one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of attempted assault on a police officer, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of second-degree attempted assault, one count of second-degree reckless endangerment, one count of third-degree assault, one count of third-degree attempted assault, one count of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and one count of unlicensed operator.

On May 28, 2019, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office obtained video surveillance footage that depicts the February 1, 2019 incident and contradicts Officer Bergman’s account of what occurred. The footage shows his unmarked police car pull alongside the burglary suspect’s car after the burglary suspect’s car completes parallel parking against the curb and then shows the suspect’s car drive off when Officer Bergman and his partner exit their vehicle without ever backing up and without coming close to striking Officer Bergman, who was never in front of the suspect’s car and who did not move out of the way of the car or fall to the ground as he allegedly claimed when the suspect drove away.

The case was investigated and is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James Aliaga, of the District Attorney’s Law Enforcement Accountability Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patrick L. O’Connor, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Eribo, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of Trials, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Tali Farhadian-Weinstein, General Counsel.

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

 

East New York Man Sentenced to Four to 12 Years in Prison For Promoting Prostitution and Assault of Philadelphia Teen

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

 

East New York Man Sentenced to Four to 12 Years in Prison
For Promoting Prostitution and Assault of Philadelphia Teen

Defendant Promoted Prostitution of Eight Others,
Most of whom Were Minors From Out of State

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East New York man who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for promoting the prostitution of a Philadelphia teen. He also promoted the prostitution of eight others, ranging in age from 15 to 21 years old.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant took advantage of vulnerable young women, luring them to New York City to work as prostitutes and used violence to get them to do his bidding. I am committed to holding accountable those who violate and prey on our young women.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jonathan Harris, a.k.a., Jayo, 27, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to four to 12 years in prison and must register as a sex offender upon his release. He pleaded guilty on March 20, 2019 to one count of second-degree promoting prostitution, one count of third-degree promoting prostitution and one count of second-degree assault. A co-defendant, Tariq Washington, previously pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking and was sentenced to four-and-a-half to nine years in prison and must register as a sex offender upon his release.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between March 2015 and December 2016, the defendants prostituted at least nine young women, the majority of whom were ages 16 and 17, in Brooklyn, after luring most of them to the city from out of state, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland. The defendants located the women on Backpage.com and then texted them and convinced them to come to New York to be prostituted, sending them bus tickets and then posting their photos on Backpage.com.

The defendants rented several rooms at various motels in Brooklyn and elsewhere and brought the women to the locations where men paid to have sex with them.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, the defendants gave the girls drugs and physically assaulted them if they refused to work as prostitutes.

The 18-year-old Philadelphia victim had come to Brooklyn with a 17-year-old friend after that girl was contacted by Washington and lured to Brooklyn. The younger girl left after a few days and returned to Philadelphia. The victim was then repeatedly assaulted by Harris and forced to prostitute, until she was able to get the strength to leave him and go to the police for help two months later.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective David Mills and Detective James Rufle of the Human Trafficking Team, Vice Enforcement Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Faoud Zahirudin, Lieutenant Christopher Sharpe and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein.

The District Attorney thanked Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crimes Against Children Squad in the New York and Philadelphia field offices for their assistance in the investigation.

Senior Intelligence Analyst Brooke Middleton of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit assisted in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.

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Drunk Driver Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Fatally Striking a College Student Who Was Rollerblading in Brownsville

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 17, 2019

 

Drunk Driver Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Fatally Striking a
College Student Who Was Rollerblading in Brownsville

Defendant Intentionally Crashed Vehicle During Argument with Boyfriend,
While Driving 97 MPH; Continued Driving, Crashing into Four Cars
And Injuring Several Passengers

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 39-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally striking a college student while driving intoxicated and getting into an argument with his boyfriend during which he threatened to crash the car. After striking the 21-year-old victim, the defendant continued driving and hit four additional vehicles.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant intentionally turned his vehicle into a weapon and senselessly killed a promising young man. His actions placed many others in danger that night and caused additional injuries. We will never tolerate this type of criminal and deadly behavior on our roads.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Terrance Smith, 39, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter on May 28, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 8, 2017, at approximately 8:35 p.m., the defendant was driving his 2012 Infinity near Glenmore Avenue and Powell Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn, when he started to argue with his partner who was in the front seat. The defendant threatened his boyfriend by saying, “I’m going to crash this b—h, I’m going to kill us” and, as he accelerated down Powell Street, struck 21-year-old Michael Joefield, a college student from Brownsville, who was rollerblading. The defendant’s vehicle’s black box recorded his speed as 97 miles per hour at the moment of impact with the victim.

The impact from the car threw the victim into the air and he landed head first on a van, shattering his skull and killing him instantly. The defendant continued to drive down Powell Street, hitting four cars that were stopped or parked. One was a livery cab with an eight-month-pregnant woman and her toddler. The cab driver suffered injuries to his neck and head, the mother lost her unborn baby and the toddler suffered injuries to her eyes from broken glass.

The defendant exited his vehicle near Junius Street, leaving his partner with multiple lacerations to his face and an injured knee. The defendant, who suffered no injuries, was found near scaffolding trying to hide from the police. Video surveillance captured his car accelerating on Powell Street and the moment of impact with the first victim, according to the investigation. A second video captured the defendant’s vehicle crashing into the other cars.

The defendant’s blood alcohol content was .22, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kori Medow, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Orange Zone Trial Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Victoria Clarkson, of the Orange Zone, with the assistance of Senior Assistant District Attorney Farin Chasin-Fodeman, also of the Orange Zone, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Janet Gleeson, Bureau Chief.

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Private Investigator Sentenced to 1 to 3 Years in Prison for Unlawful Surveillance and Promoting Prostitution as Part of a Scheme to Keep Victim Of Child Sexual Assaults from Testifying Against her Abuser

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 14, 2019

 

Private Investigator Sentenced to 1 to 3 Years in Prison for Unlawful Surveillance and Promoting Prostitution as Part of a Scheme to Keep Victim Of Child Sexual Assaults from Testifying Against her Abuser

Defendant Recorded Compromising Videos of Victim’s Family Member

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Vincent Parco, a private investigator, has been sentenced to one to three years in prison following his conviction last month of unlawful surveillance, promoting prostitution and dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image. The defendant was hired in connection with a scheme to pressure a woman to stop cooperating in the prosecution of a man who sexually abused her as a child.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant, a licensed private investigator, was hired by a sexual abuser who sought to silence the victim of a heinous crime, causing her and her family additional pain. A jury found him guilty of secretly recording an intimate encounter and with today’s sentencing he has been held accountable. Sickening and shameful behavior such as this will not be tolerated in Brooklyn and will be vigorously prosecuted.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Vincent Parco, 68, of Manhattan. The defendant was today sentenced to one to three years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Justice Donald Leo. He was convicted on May 3, 2019, following a jury trial, of one count of fourth-degree promoting prostitution, four counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance and one count of first-degree dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image.

The District Attorney said that on March 2, 2016, Samuel Israel, 46, was arrested and subsequently indicted for sexually abusing a woman when she was 12 years old.

In July 2016, Israel hired the defendant, who owns a private investigation firm, to surreptitiously record embarrassing video images of a family member of the sexual abuse victim to shame the victim and her family in the community and to compel the victim to stop cooperating against Israel. Israel paid the defendant approximately $17,000 for his role in the scheme, the evidence showed.

On December 17, 2016, an associate enlisted by the defendant lured the family member to a hotel room in Sunset Park, where she and the defendant had installed video recording equipment, according to trial testimony. The associate also hired a prostitute, who she and the defendant recorded having sex with the family member, according to testimony.

At the defendant’s direction, the associate set up another secret encounter at the same hotel two days later because of a recording malfunction during the initial encounter, according to testimony. The associate hired the same prostitute for the second encounter, as well as a second prostitute. The family member was secretly recorded with both women, the evidence showed.

On January 17, 2017, the family member recorded at the hotel was approached by a stranger wearing a scarf who showed him a cell phone video and a photograph of the hotel encounter and stated: “Be smart. Stop making trouble,” according to trial testimony. The family member reported the incident to the DA’s office, according to testimony.

Videos of the hotel encounter were recovered from the defendant’s office computer, pursuant to a search warrant.

Israel pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual act and one count of fourth-degree tampering with a witness on July 23, 2018. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, seven years’ post-release supervision and must register as a sex offender upon release from prison.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators from the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Gwen Barnes of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Libove, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Mark Feldman, Executive Assistant District Attorney for Special Investigations.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting Livery Cab Driver During Attempted Robbery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 13, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting
Livery Cab Driver During Attempted Robbery

Defendant Caught on Surveillance Video Firing Weapon Inside Vehicle,
Victim, a Father of Four, Was Struck Five Times

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 27-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a 35-year-old livery cab driver while attempting to rob him.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A devoted father who worked multiple jobs to provide for his wife and children was senselessly shot and killed in the prime of his life. Fawaz Naji had so much to live for when this defendant inexplicably chose to take it all away from him. With today’s sentencing this defendant has now been brought to justice.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Unique Gray, 27, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser to 25 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on May 9, 2019, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 29, 2015, the defendant and another man, Tyrell Gardenhire, flagged down the victim’s cab, at approximately 12:20 a.m., and ordered him to pull over on Decatur Street near Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The defendant fatally shot the victim, Fawaz Naji, 35, inside his cab while attempting to rob him. The victim was struck five times, including in the face, the back, the arm and in his hand.

Surveillance video stills from inside the victim’s cab show the defendant, who was seated in the back seat, firing a revolver from behind the victim. He then fled the scene, leaving his cellphone inside the cab.

The defendant was apprehended in North Carolina on August 29, 2015 and extradited to Brooklyn.

The co-defendant, Gardenhire, 28, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery on March 13, 2019 and was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Bernarda Villalona, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Evelina Rene, of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Canarsie Man Charged with Defrauding Three Immigrants, Claimed He Could Get Green Cards and Work Permits for a Fee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

 

Canarsie Man Charged with Defrauding Three Immigrants,
Claimed He Could Get Green Cards and Work Permits for a Fee

Allegedly Took More Than $8,000 From Victims;
Threatened to Report Them for Pursuing Refunds

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Canarsie man has been charged with grand larceny, scheme to defraud, immigration assistance services fraud, and related charges, for allegedly stealing $8,520 from three undocumented immigrants who hired him to process work permits and green card applications with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is accused of preying on some of the most vulnerable members of our society who were victimized as they attempted to comply with federal laws. I am committed to protecting all Brooklyn residents, regardless of their status, and caution everyone to be careful who they hire when seeking immigration services. I urge anyone who believes they may have been victimized by this defendant to call my Immigrant Affairs Helpline at 718-250-3333.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as James Archibald, 55, of Canarsie, Brooklyn. The defendant was arraigned last night before Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Joseph McCormack on a 10-count criminal complaint in which he is charged with third-degree grand larceny, fourth-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree immigration assistance services fraud, and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 8, 2019. The defendant faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The District Attorney said that, according to the complaint, between October 2016 and May 2018, the defendant, who was the owner of a company called US Caribbean and Asian Development Organization, allegedly stole $8,520 from three undocumented immigrants who paid him to process and expedite work permit and green card applications on their behalf with USCIS.

The victims, who were from St. Kitts and Jamaica, met the defendant through mutual acquaintances. After receiving the payments, the victims repeatedly contacted the defendant, but he failed to provide the promised services and they tried to get their money back. It is alleged that the defendant told the victims that if they persisted in pursuing refunds he would report them to USCIS; he also allegedly failed to return the passports of two victims.

The investigation began in January 2019 after two of the victims filed complaints against the defendant with the District Attorney’s Action Center, which put them in contact with the District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs Unit.

The District Attorney urged anyone else who believes they may have been defrauded by this defendant to call the DA’s Immigrant Affairs Helpline at 718-250-3333.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The District Attorney thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, New York Asylum Office, for its assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Fayola Charlet of the District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney José Interiano, Deputy Chief of the Immigrant Affairs Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.

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A criminal complaint is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Two Men Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison for Bedford-Stuyvesant Courtyard Shooting That Killed Two Women Struck by Stray Bullets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 10, 2019

 

Two Men Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison for Bedford-Stuyvesant Courtyard Shooting That Killed Two Women Struck by Stray Bullets

Defendants Fired Total of 10 Shots into Crowd of Approximately 20 People

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two men have been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for a July 2017 shooting that left two young, completely innocent women dead. The defendants opened fire into a crowded Bedford-Stuyvesant courtyard, striking each of the victims once.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Two innocent women lost their lives and two young girls were robbed of their mothers when these defendants opened fire without regard for who might be harmed by their bullets. I hope today’s prison sentence makes clear that there are serious consequences for those who devastate families and terrorize our communities with senseless acts of gun violence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Nazir Saunders, 22, of Harlem and Anthony Alexander, 19, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. They were each sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte to 50 years to life in prison. The defendants were each convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on May 20, 2019, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on July 12, 2017 at about 9:30 p.m. the defendants entered the courtyard of 750 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is part of the Stuyvesant Gardens Houses. A group of about 20 people were hanging out at the location at the time.

The defendants started shooting, firing a total of 10 bullets, four from a .45-caliber gun and six from a .380-caliber firearm. They missed their intended targets and fatally struck two women who were in the courtyard. Chynna Battle, 21, mother of a 3-year-old daughter, was shot in the head, and Shaqwanda Staley, 29, mother of a 9-year-old daughter, was shot once in the back.

Both defendants fled the scene and were later arrested in South Carolina on October 31, 2017.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Diamond, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 24 Years to Life in Prison for Murder of Williamsburg Businessman During Botched Abduction in 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 6, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 24 Years to Life in Prison for Murder of Williamsburg Businessman During Botched Abduction in 2014

Victim Died After Being Restrained by Defendant in Van

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Crown Heights man has been sentenced to 24 years to life in prison for the kidnapping and murder of Williamsburg businessman Menachem Stark during a botched abduction in 2014.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant orchestrated the callous kidnapping that led to the murder of Menachem Stark, a husband, father and beloved member of the Williamsburg community. With today’s substantial prison sentence this defendant has now been brought to justice and held accountable for his role in this senseless loss of life.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Erskin Felix, 40, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to 24 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence on April 8, 2019, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on January 2, 2014, at approximately 11:30 p.m., during a blizzard, the defendant and his cousin Kendel Felix, 31, ambushed Menachem Stark, 39, on the street as he left his office, located at 331 Rutledge Street in Williamsburg, and abducted him with the intention of holding him for ransom. Erskin Felix worked as a contractor for the victim and his cousin, Kendel Felix, did construction work for him.

After the victim fought unsuccessfully to escape, the defendants forced him into a Dodge minivan, bound his arms and legs with duct tape, taped his mouth and placed a ski mask over his head. Kendel drove away while Erskin restrained Stark in the back of the van by sitting on his chest, according to testimony. Erskin and Kendel picked up defendant Kendall Felix (Erskin’s brother) and they drove to the home of Irvine Henry (another cousin), the evidence showed.

Upon arrival, they discovered that the victim was dead due to Erskin’s actions in trying to subdue him, according to the evidence. The defendants attempted to return to the kidnapping scene to retrieve the victim’s Lexus SUV, but saw police on the scene.

Erskin then directed Kendel and Kendall to drive to Long Island to dispose of the body, the evidence showed. They drove to Nassau County, threw the body in a dumpster and set it on fire.

Approximately 17 hours later, a Nassau County police officer found the partially burned body in a garbage dumpster behind a gas station in Great Neck, Long Island. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by compression of the neck and chest.

Kendel Felix was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on May 1, 2019. A jury convicted him of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder in September 2016.

Kendall Felix was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison on March 27, 2019 following his guilty plea to second-degree conspiracy and first-degree hindering prosecution over the objection of the prosecution.

Irvine Henry was sentenced to three months in prison on May 1, 2019 following his guilty plea to attempted tampering with physical evidence.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Christopher Scarry of the 90th Precinct Detective Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant Seamus Doherty. Detective Herbert Martin and other members of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad assisted in the investigation, under the supervision of Lieutenant John Tennant.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Jane Kim and Junior Intelligence Analyst Eungee Hwang, of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit, and Senior Executive for Law Enforcement Operations Gregory A. Thomas, assisted in the case.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Howard Jackson, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Homicide Bureau, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, a Bureau Chief in the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide for Wrong Way Collision on Belt Parkway That Killed Passenger in Lyft And Severely Injured Two Others

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

 

Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide for Wrong Way Collision on Belt Parkway That Killed Passenger in Lyft
And Severely Injured Two Others

Defendant to be Sentenced to Seven to 21 Years in Prison

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 51-year-old Sheepshead Bay man has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and other charges for causing a head-on collision with a Lyft vehicle that killed one passenger and severely injured a second passenger and the Lyft driver on the Belt Parkway in July 2018. The impact of the collision catapulted one passenger into the front seat and caused the car to go up on to the guardrail.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The reckless and irresponsible actions of this defendant ended the life of a promising young man and devastated his family. By choosing to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, the defendant was a danger to everyone that night. I am committed to prosecuting dangerous drivers who threaten the safety of everyone on our roads.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Aleh Sheipak, 51, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty today to aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who indicated that he will sentence the defendant to seven to 21 years on August 7, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 12, 2018, at approximately 1:51 a.m., the defendant was observed driving his 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan eastbound on the westbound lane of the Belt Parkway. The investigation revealed that the defendant drove over two miles in the wrong direction and collided head-on with a 2018 Honda Accord Lyft at Exit 3, near the Verrazzano Bridge entrance ramp of the Belt Parkway. The impact of the collision caused the Honda to land on the guardrail in the center median.

Furthermore, one of the passengers, 27-year-old Gerald Obah, was trapped in the back seat, while a second passenger, a 29-year-old woman, was catapulted into the front seat. The 20-year-old driver also suffered significant injuries. While at the scene the defendant showed signs of intoxication. The defendant failed a sobriety test administered by responding officers. The two injured passengers, who were coming from John F. Kennedy airport, were transported to NYU Langone Hospital, where Obah was pronounced dead. The woman was treated for multiple fractures and lacerations to her head, hip and leg. Both drivers were taken to Maimonides Hospital, where the defendant was treated for minor injuries and the Lyft driver was treated for a broken leg, jaw fracture, and lacerations to the face.

A warrant was obtained for the defendant’s blood and an analysis revealed that the defendant’s alcohol content at the time of the collision was in excess of .18, more than twice the legal limit.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Joseph Mancino, of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Theresa Shanahan, Deputy Chief of the Blue Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Bureau Chief. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nocella, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit and Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, assisted in the prosecution.

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