Queens Man Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison forViolent Sexual Assaults in Brooklyn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 25, 2022

 

Queens Man Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison for
Violent Sexual Assaults in Brooklyn

Attacked Three Women at Gunpoint during Early Morning Crime Spree

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Queens man has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting two women and attempting to assault a third woman, all at gunpoint, in three separate attacks in East New York in 2017. The defendant was convicted in March following a jury trial.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a violent and disturbing series of attacks that targeted and traumatized three innocent women. With today’s sentencing this defendant has now been held accountable for his actions, and our communities are safer now that he has been taken off the street. I remain committed to seeking justice for all victims of sexual assault in Brooklyn.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Keith Wiggins, 31, of South Ozone Park, Queens. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo to 50 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted of four counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony, one count of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of second-degree menacing, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child on March 23, 2022, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on October 10, 2017, at 6:45 a.m., in the vicinity of 609 Fountain Avenue, the defendant approached a 29-year-old woman as she was walking to work, displayed a silver firearm, and ordered her into a lot behind a van. He then ordered her to remove her clothing, raped her, and forced her to perform a sex act, while pointing a gun at her head. He then fled the location in a Dodge Caravan.

Shortly thereafter, at approximately 7:13 a.m., in the vicinity of 675 Lincoln Avenue, the defendant approached a 15-year-old girl as she was walking to school, displayed a silver firearm and ordered her to turn around or he would shoot her. The victim fled and the defendant left the area.

Finally, at 8:30 a.m., in East New York, the defendant approached a 30-year-old woman as she was walking to work, displayed a silver firearm and ordered her inside of her residence. Once inside the hallway, the defendant forced the woman to perform a sex act while pointing a gun at her head. He then fled the location in a Dodge Caravan.

The police tracked down the defendant attempting to return the Dodge Caravan to a rental agency at John F. Kennedy Airport later that morning.

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

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Fatally Shooting 23-year-old Man Outside East Flatbush Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 18, 2022

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for
Fatally Shooting 23-year-old Man Outside East Flatbush Home

Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter that Stemmed from Dispute

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East Flatbush man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting a 23-year-old man during an argument outside of the defendant’s family’s home in 2019.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This senseless act of violence took the life of a young man. The defendant’s guilty plea and today’s sentence hold him accountable for his actions and offer a measure of justice for the victim’s loved ones. We will not tolerate gun violence in the streets of Brooklyn.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Taliby Kaba, 24, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice ¬Dena E. Douglas to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter on March 31, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on February 22, 2019, at approximately 4:45 p.m., the defendant got into an argument with his sister’s boyfriend, the boyfriend’s brother, and a friend, Kenny Joseph, 23, in front of the defendant’s family’s home on East 94th Street in East Flatbush. The defendant chased his sister’s boyfriend down the block with a handgun and ultimately fired a gunshot into the boyfriend’s brother’s car, striking Joseph in the chest. Joseph was taken to Brookdale University Hospital, where he later died.

The defendant fled the scene. He was apprehended on March 15, 2019, in Secaucus, New Jersey.

The case was prosecuted by Senior District Attorneys Daniel Murphy and Viviane Dussek, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Bureau Chief.

Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Unjust Convictions of Three Defendants Who Confessed as Teenagers to Horrific Murder of Clerk Whose Token Booth was Set on Fire and Exploded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 15, 2022

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Unjust Convictions of
Three Defendants Who Confessed as Teenagers to Horrific Murder of
Clerk Whose Token Booth was Set on Fire and Exploded

Will Bring Number of Exonerees Since the Conviction Review Unit Was Established to 33

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that following a thorough investigation by his Conviction Review Unit (CRU), he will move to vacate the convictions of James Irons, Thomas Malik and Vincent Ellerbe for the 1995 murder of token booth clerk Harry Kaufman, citing problematic identifications and false and contradictory confessions. Each of the defendants was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Malik and Irons remained incarcerated, and Ellerbe was paroled in late 2020. The complete CRU reports on their cases are available here, here and here.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The horrific murder of Harry Kaufman shocked our city and devastated a loving family, but the findings of an exhaustive, years long reinvestigation of this case leave us unable to stand by the convictions of those charged. Above all, my obligation is to do justice, and because of the serious problems with the evidence on which these convictions are based, we must move to vacate them and acknowledge the harm done to these men by this failure of our system. My heart aches for the Kaufman family and my office remains resolute in our commitment to seek justice for victims, while ensuring fairness to all.”

The defendants will appear in court today at 2:15 p.m. before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic. in 320 Jay Street, 15th Floor.

The District Attorney said that on November 26, 1995, at about 1:40 a.m., inside of the subway station at Kingston Avenue and Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, two men approached the token booth where Kaufman was working. One of the men poured gasoline from a clear plastic soda bottle into the coin slot, then he or his accomplice lit a book of matches, igniting the gasoline and causing the token booth to explode. Kaufman was blown out of the booth.

A witness reported seeing three men exit the station and flee the scene. Kaufman emerged from the station engulfed in flames and passersby helped to extinguish the flames. He suffered burns over 80 percent of his body and died of his injuries two week later.

Subsequently, New York City Police Department detectives, including lead case detectives Stephen Chmil and Louis Scarcella, identified the defendants as suspects. All three defendants confessed to taking part in the crime and each was convicted by a jury at trial largely based on those confessions.

More than 25 years later, following a reinvestigation of the case, the DA’s Office cannot stand by the convictions. Among many reasons are the problematic circumstances of the identifications, the myriad factual contradictions between the confessions and the evidence recovered at the scene, and the material contradictions between the confessions themselves.

The review found that Scarcella and Chmil fed key details to Irons, who was 18 years old at the time, showing him photographs of evidence found at the crime scene, including a rifle, and either describing or showing him a photograph of a gasoline container, before Irons said anything meaningful about either item. these details were used to argue at trial that the confession was so detailed it could be relied on by the jury. Furthermore, details of his confession were false, including that he was shot in the leg a year earlier, even though he was not, or physically impossible, such as he was able to see his accomplices enter the getaway car, which was parked a block away and around the corner. He also claimed that gasoline was squirted on the door of the token booth, but this fact was negated by expert testimony from a fire marshal at one of the co-defendant’s trials, who said the gasoline was poured into the coin slot opening and nowhere else.

Malik, who was also 18 years old at the time, was identified by a witness as someone she saw holding the bottle of gasoline and entering the subway with another man, even though she had earlier identified Scarcella’s and Chmil’s top suspect, a different person (who was not charged) as holding the bottle. Notably, she was screaming, crying, and shaking, saying she would never forget his face, referring to the person who was not charged. Another detective working on the case later put Malik in a lineup, dressed in a red shirt (the only person in the lineup in a red shirt) and the same witness identified him as holding the bottle. The jury never heard that the witness made numerous material inconsistent pretrial statements, involving among other things, the location of her vehicle which would have undermined her credibility about what she claimed to have seen, impacted her ability to identify Malik, and raised doubts about other testimony she provided relating to the getaway car.

Finally, Ellerbe, who was 17 years old at the time, made a confession that was inconsistent with the facts and the evidence. He said in his statement that he used a spray bottle to spray gasoline, to actually spray his street name, Teff, on the front of the token booth in direct contradiction to the fire marshal who said that the gasoline was poured into the coin aperture. There is no evidence that a spray bottle was used, and CRU determined that if the booth had only been sprayed it would not have exploded. Also, Ellerbe said in his confession that four people stood in front of the token booth, though the victim told police there were two people.

To date, the work of the Conviction Review Unit has resulted in 33 convictions being vacated since 2014. Currently, CRU has approximately 50 open investigations.

This case was investigated by Assistant District Attorney Eric Sonnenschein, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Post-Conviction Justice Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Lori Glachman, Editor-in-Chief of the Conviction Review Unit, under the supervision of Charles Linehan, Chief of the Conviction Review Unit.

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Brooklyn Scaffolding Company and its Foreperson Indicted for Reckless Endangerment and Criminal Mischief in Scaffolding Collapse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 1, 2022

 

Brooklyn Scaffolding Company and its Foreperson Indicted for Reckless Endangerment and Criminal Mischief in Scaffolding Collapse

Allegedly Failed to Remove Unsecured Scaffolding from Park Slope Construction Site, Despite Safety Concerns and Industry Protocols, Leading to Collapse that Left Woman Seriously Injured

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber and New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich, today announced that the foreman of a Brooklyn scaffolding company and the company have been arraigned on an indictment in which they are charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief for failing to remove unsecured scaffolding from a 12-story building under construction in Park Slope. High winds caused the scaffolding to collapse and plummet from the roof, striking a woman below in the courtyard of an adjacent bar.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This is a tragedy that never should have happened. The defendant allegedly ignored industry safety protocols by failing for days to either secure or remove the scaffolding at this site. His alleged inaction has had a profound and devastating impact on a young woman who will suffer the consequences for the rest of her life. We will now seek to hold him accountable for his reckless, irresponsible and criminal behavior.”

Commissioner Strauber said, “These charges make clear that disregard of New York City’s building code can have tragic consequences. As alleged, this foreman and his company knowingly failed to secure or remove roof scaffolding that posed a serious danger, and that ultimately caused injuries to individuals on the street below, including a young woman who suffered significant and permanent brain injuries. This tragedy was entirely preventable, and the charged conduct is not just unprofessional and irresponsible, it is criminal. We are committed to continuing to work with our law enforcement partners at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the City Department of Buildings to identify and prevent this type of dangerous misconduct.”

Commissioner Ulrich said, “Choosing not to perform required safety work on a construction site can have tragic and devastating consequences. If proper precautions were taken, this incident might have been avoided. I would like to personally thank our partners at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and at the Department of Investigation for bringing criminal charges in this important case.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Zeke Fagan, 26, of Woodmere, New York, and Silvercup Scaffolding, of 29 Lorimer Street, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The defendants were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jane Tully on an indictment in which they are charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and fourth-degree criminal mischief. They were ordered to return to court on August 11, 2022. Each of the misdemeanor counts they were charged with carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on June 30, 2019, at approximately 3 p.m., support scaffolding on the roof of a 12-story building located at 243 4th Avenue in Park Slope, which was left largely disconnected from the bulkhead and which still had its netting attached, fell from that roof onto Mission Delores, an adjacent bar with an outdoor patio directly below the rooftop of 243 4th Avenue. Three patrons were struck by the debris, including a 32-year-old woman who suffered serious, permanent brain injuries. Two other women suffered minor injuries. In addition, pieces of scaffolding, including metal pipes and wooden planks, shattered panes of glass in the bar’s atrium area.

The scaffolding was initially secured to the building by “tie backs,” which are metal rods that are connected to the building through a hole created in the wall. The scaffolding was also interconnected to itself and surrounded the entire bulkhead creating four interconnected sides to provide further support. Therefore, it was connected to the building and interconnected to itself, as required by the building code.

However, according to the investigation, on June 12, 2019, a subcontractor doing stucco work disconnected the tie backs of the scaffolding to fill in the holes created by the tie backs. That contractor allegedly immediately informed the general contractor’s construction superintendent to make sure the scaffolding was dismantled by Silvercup the following day. Fagan, Silvercup’s foreman, who was responsible for overseeing the scaffolding, was allegedly informed of this by the superintendent on June 14, 2019. Also, on that date, the superintendent texted Fagan a photograph of the scaffolding coming apart on the roof’s bulkhead.

The scaffolding was never properly dismantled and remained in a precarious, unsecured condition for over two weeks, including days where there were high winds. On June 30, 2019, gusts of high winds swept through Park Slope and caught the netting of the scaffolding, causing a sail-like effect lifting the scaffolding up and away from the building. Notably, the extreme weather condition had been forecasted and advisories about it were sent out by the DOB.

The scaffolding then fell from the bulkhead over the side of the building and into the courtyard of Mission Dolores, a bar that was located at 249 4th Avenue, where numerous patrons were seated, including the 32-year-old woman who was struck in the head by a piece of the scaffolding and sustained serious injuries, including a fractured skull and permanent neurological trauma. Two other women seated in the courtyard sustained less severe injuries.

The case was investigated by DOI Assistant Inspector General Robert Miller, under the supervision of Inspector General Gregory Cho, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella and First Deputy Commissioner Daniel G. Cort.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorneys T. Peter Choi and Rina Lee of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory C. Pavlides, Bureau Chief, 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.

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

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Three Sexual Assaults of Two Victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 27, 2022

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Three Sexual Assaults of Two Victims

Allegedly Assaulted Woman Walking in Crown Heights, Then Attacked Her Again;
Defendant is also Charged with Raping a 13-Year-Old Girl

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been indicted for sexually assaulting a woman twice last month and for raping a 13-year-old girl in September 2021. Both victims were strangers to the defendant.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant is charged with three horrific and violent sexual offenses, including raping an innocent child and repeatedly sexually assaulting a stranger. We will vigorously prosecute this alleged serial sexual predator to keep the people of Brooklyn safe.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Miguel James, 42, of Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser on two indictments in which he is charged with first-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree assault, first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree robbery, forcible touching, second-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a child and related charges. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on August 10, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 27, 2022, at approximately 2 a.m., in the vicinity of St. Marks Avenue near East New York Avenue, the defendant, who was in a car, offered a 52-year-old woman who was walking home a ride. After she declined, the defendant allegedly got out of his vehicle, a black Acura, pushed her to the ground, and forced her to perform a sex act.

The defendant then got into his car and left the scene, but approximately 15 minutes later, as the victim was walking in the vicinity of St. Marks Avenue and Howard Avenue, the defendant allegedly spotted her, got out of his vehicle, sexually assaulted her again and stole her cell phone.

Later that morning, the victim told a neighbor about the assault and the neighbor called police. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital. She was treated for a broken wrist and other injuries.

Following an investigation by police, the defendant was arrested on June 1, 2022. He was also charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in his apartment on September 8, 2021. The victim’s friend was an acquaintance of the defendant.

The cases are being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Paul Hershan of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Shooting a FedEx Driver in the Back at Point Blank Range

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 27, 2022

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for
Shooting a FedEx Driver in the Back at Point Blank Range

Attempted Murder in Brownsville Housing Development Was Captured on Video

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for shooting a FedEx employee in the back as he walked out of a Brownsville building. The incident was caught on surveillance video.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant has a long and violent criminal history, and the people of Brooklyn are safer with him in prison. While we believe in second chances, we have no tolerance for callous gun violence, and I hope this sentence allows the victim some solace.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as J’von Johnson, 25, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht to 40 years in state prison following his conviction last month on charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on December 7, 2020, at 395 Livonia Avenue, which is part of the Van Dyke Housing Development, at approximately 11:15 a.m., the defendant fired a handgun from close range at a uniformed FedEx employee who was leaving the building. The bullet entered the victim’s right shoulder and exited from his throat. He has since recovered.

Video surveillance captured the entire incident, showing the shooting and the defendant walking away. After getting arrested, the defendant gave police a statement in which he identified himself in the video and admitted to committing the shooting.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Farin Chasin, of the District Attorney’s Orange Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn Woman Indicted for Beating 9-year-old Daughter to Death in Crown Heights Apartment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 24, 2022

 

Brooklyn Woman Indicted for Beating 9-year-old
Daughter to Death in Crown Heights Apartment

Victim Suffered Blunt Force Impact Injuries to Face, Head and Body

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a woman has been arraigned on an indictment in which she is charged with murder and other charges for allegedly killing her 9-year-old daughter, Shalom Guiffaro, in the family’s apartment in Crown Heights.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This horrific murder ended the life of a precious young child, allegedly at the hands of her own mother. The brutality of this attack shocks the conscience, and we are committed to seeking accountability and justice.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Shemene Cato, 47, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo on an indictment in which she is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree manslaughter, one count of first-degree attempted assault, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of third-degree assault, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and four counts of second-degree menacing. She is being held without bail and was ordered to return to court on August 5, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 15, at approximately 8 a.m., inside the family’s fourth-floor apartment, located at 571 Lincoln Place, the defendant allegedly beat Shalom and another daughter, 13, with an electrical cord and a broom during an argument over a missing tablet. The beating lasted for approximately two hours. At one point, Shalom allegedly tried to escape the defendant by crawling under a bed. The defendant then allegedly lifted the bed and attempted to pull Shalom out from under it. The defendant is alleged to have dropped the bed, causing the leg to fall off, and the bed to fall on Shalom’s head.

According to the investigation, the defendant called 911 at 1 p.m., and EMS responded and performed CPR on Shalom, who was pronounced dead at 1:21 p.m. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later determined that the child suffered multiple blunt force impact injuries to her head, face, and body. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. The defendant’s 13-year-old daughter was taken to Brooklyn Hospital and treated for lacerations and contusions over her lower body.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Linda Weinman, Counsel to the District Attorney’s Special Victim’s Bureau and Senior Assistant District Attorney Christopher Mirabella, of the Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez Dedicates Unprecedented Resources to Combat Gun Violence Under Comprehensive STOP VIOLENCE Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

 

Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez Dedicates Unprecedented Resources to Combat Gun Violence Under Comprehensive STOP VIOLENCE Initiative

Building on Reductions in Shootings and Homicides During the First Half of the Year,
Plan Adds Personnel, Technology, Intelligence-Sharing Protocols and
Community Partnerships to Prevent Shootings and Prosecute Offenders

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced a comprehensive strategy to fight gun violence in Brooklyn and dedicated unprecedented new resources to enhance the Office’s analytics, investigative and technological capacity to prevent violence and to hold accountable those who commit gun crimes. The new investments include a $2 million Digital Evidence Lab, a new Ghost gun Unit and an executive position focusing on gun violence reduction. The Office is also making significant new investments in gang violence prevention programs and youth engagement. The full plan is available here.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We know what we’re doing in Brooklyn works because shootings here dropped in 2021 as they spiked elsewhere and we’re seeing that progress continue in the first half of 2022. Shootings and murders fell in Brooklyn last year because of a strong focus on the drivers of crime and community engagement, and this initiative will supercharge the most effective strategies. We are committing more prosecutors, more technology, and more information-sharing tools to investigate and prosecute those who commit gun crimes, while broadening the community partnership efforts that are critical to violence prevention. Working with our partners at every level, this initiative will make Brooklyn safer.”

District Attorney Gonzalez will personally lead the new Strategic Team Operation to Prevent Violence through Intelligence, Organization, Law Enforcement, Neighborhood and Community Engagement (STOP VIOLENCE) initiative, with day-to-day collaboration facilitated by Kevin Aulbach, who has been promoted to the newly created role of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Strategic Enforcement. The team will bring together representatives from the Crime Strategies Unit, Homicide Bureau, Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, the Forensic Science & Cold Case Unit, Community Lead Safety Representatives, and Detective Investigators, sharing intelligence and data in real time.

The Crime Strategies Unit operates on the evidence-based principle that a very small number of individuals are responsible for most violent crime, and that by identifying those individuals and carefully targeting investigative and prosecution resources to address those drivers of crime, public safety is improved. It is this focus, shared by our partners in the New York City Police Department, that has helped reduce gun violence in Brooklyn. Last year, shootings declined by 20% and homicides went down by 15%, and the borough has experienced similar percent reductions in these categories so far this year.

The STOP VIOLENCE plan also includes the creation of a new Ghost Gun Unit to focus on weapons sold as kits requiring assembly, which have no serial number, require no background check, and are untraceable.

In addition, the District Attorney has invested in cutting-edge new technology to fight gun crime. With more than $2 million in new software and hardware and four new digital forensics analysts, the District Attorney’s recently certified Digital Evidence Lab is improving the Office’s ability to extract critical evidence and intelligence from cellular phones and other electronics. Specially trained analysts assist with search warrant execution to ensure all potentially relevant digital evidence is captured, analyzed, and utilized for maximum investigative value to prevent crime and to prosecute violent offenders. Leveraging these new resources, in addition to existing tools including ShotSpotter, cellular geolocation, crime mapping, video surveillance, and social media analysis, the Office is bringing unprecedented analytics and investigative tools to the fight against gun violence.

District Attorney Gonzalez has also hired five experienced prosecutors to focus exclusively on gun crime. These Assistant District Attorneys will ensure that critical gun cases have the staff support needed to not only investigate and prosecute offenses, but to proactively share intelligence to prevent crime.

The District Attorney’s Office will continue its collaborative engagement with local, state, and federal partners through the Gun Violence Strategies Partnership (GVSP), a Citywide clearinghouse effort established in August 2021 that brings representatives from every state and federal law enforcement and corrections agency together daily. In these briefings, leaders from each agency discuss the most significant drivers of shooting violence across the City, share information and intelligence, and coordinate resources to ensure that every possible law enforcement tool is brought to bear to interrupt patterns of violent criminal conduct.

The Office also collaborates with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York regarding “Triggerlock” defendants, which allows federal prosecutors to remove appropriate gun possession cases to U. S. District Court for federal prosecution and sentencing, frequently resulting in more severe sentences. This potential for additional prison time encourages those facing eligible gun charges to cooperate, often revealing information useful to prevent or solve other violent crimes and to identify and stop those trafficking weapons.

Finally, the District Attorney is committed to continuing the Office’s strong community engagement efforts to build trust, strengthen partnerships, and promote collaboration. These efforts include gun buybacks event in collaboration with the NYPD and local churches; new youth engagement programming and support for violence interrupters who work directly with at-risk individuals to help resolve conflicts peacefully; as well as other community-driven efforts to match services and resources to those in need to prevent criminal conduct. The District Attorney’s Office has also partnered with neighborhood organizations in Bedford-Stuyvesant, investing unprecedented resources as part of Project Restore, an innovative pilot program that seeks to address a decades-long history of violent gang rivalry through restorative justice interventions. This effort to prevent violent conflict, combined with direct engagement in impacted communities following significant enforcement events helps to not only reduce violence, but also to promote healing and growth.

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

 

East Flatbush Man Arraigned on Indictment Charging Him With Kidnapping and Predatory Sexual Assault of Teen Boy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

 

East Flatbush Man Arraigned on Indictment Charging Him
With Kidnapping and Predatory Sexual Assault of Teen Boy

Defendant Abducted 13-Year-Old Stranger at Knifepoint as He Walked Home from School

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that an East Flatbush man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act, kidnapping, luring a child, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and other charges in connection with abducting and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a chilling assault of an innocent child making his way home from school in broad daylight. Thankfully this brave young victim survived this horrific attack and was able to lead police to his alleged assailant, who we will now seek to bring to justice.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Christopher Fiesco, 32, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser on an indictment in which he is charged with predatory sexual assault, first-degree criminal sexual assault, second-degree kidnapping, luring a child, and related offenses. The defendant was ordered held without bail and to return to court on August 10, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 2, 2022, at approximately 3:50 p.m., the defendant, wearing a full ski mask, approached a 13-year-old boy in the vicinity of Winthrop Street and East 98th Street in East Flatbush, grabbed the child’s arm, and asked him for the time. When the child tried to leave, the defendant allegedly threatened him with a knife, told him not to scream, and took him to a building located at 87 East 53rd Street.

The defendant allegedly forced the child to climb a fire escape and enter an apartment through the window. Once inside, the defendant told him to shower and then allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulted the child. He then let the child leave.

The victim went home and reported the assault to his family, who called 911.

The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Detectives assigned to the Brooklyn Special Victims Squad.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Connie Solimeo of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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

 

Brooklyn Men Who Allegedly Stole Approximately $227,000 from Elderly Clinton Hill Woman Indicted on Grand Larceny and Other Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 21, 2022

 

Brooklyn Men Who Allegedly Stole Approximately
$227,000 from Elderly Clinton Hill Woman Indicted on
Grand Larceny and Other Charges

Former Neighbor of 94-Year-Old Woman Allegedly Facilitated Theft Using a Power of Attorney

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and United States Secret Service New York Field Office Special Agent in Charge Patrick Freaney today announced that two men were arraigned on an indictment in which they are variously charged with grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing approximately $227,000 from an elderly woman.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is always heartbreaking to me to see individuals with access to a senior citizen’s life savings, such as through a power of attorney, allegedly abuse that trust to enrich themselves. We will now seek to hold these defendants accountable for their alleged actions. I thank the Secret Service and my prosecutors for their work on this case.”

Special Agent in Charge Freaney said, “Elder fraud remains a serious problem, and this case is yet another example of the danger posed to the elderly by individuals who seek to take advantage of that community through financial fraud and identity theft. The Secret Service is proud to partner with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and we look forward to our continued partnership in combatting fraudulent activity.”

The District Attorney said that the defendants Humberto Nunez, 66, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and Mahilima Baa, 50, of Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn are variously charged in a five-count indictment with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and first-degree identity theft. Nunez was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser and Baa was arraigned on June 13, 2022. Both defendants were released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 5, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between July 19, 2019, and January 7, 2020, the defendants, who are acquaintances, allegedly stole approximately $52,000 from a former business account associated with 684 Quality Cleaners, which was owned by Nunez’s former neighbor, who is now 96 years old. Nunez was allegedly given power of attorney by the woman prior to her becoming incapacitated and having a guardian appointed.

Furthermore, it is alleged, between July 15, 2019, and January 7, 2020, the defendants stole approximately $175,000 from an account established using the power of attorney, which represented the proceeds of a reverse mortgage the victim had since 2009.

Furthermore, it is alleged, defendant Baa allegedly stole another $28,000 by impersonating the victim.

It is alleged that the defendants used the proceeds to pay for their own personal expenses, including credit card payments, restaurants, and Amazon and Best Buy purchases.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service New York Field Office and Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Karen Turner, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory Pavlides, Frauds Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and 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.