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.

#

 

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.

#

 

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.

#

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.

#

 

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.

#

 

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.

#

 

Brooklyn Woman Convicted of Manslaughter for Drowning Her 2-Year-Old Daughter Inside a Storage Container Filled with Water

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

 

Brooklyn Woman Convicted of Manslaughter for Drowning Her 2-Year-Old Daughter Inside a Storage Container Filled with Water

Child Was Found Unresponsive by Emergency Medical Services Personnel

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Sunset Park woman has been convicted of manslaughter for the 2016 drowning death of her 2-year-old daughter, Melody Zheng. The defendant put the victim in a container and held her under water until she stopped struggling. She later called 911. She was also convicted of attempted assault for holding her four-year-old son’s head under water a day earlier.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Melody was a defenseless child who depended on her mother to protect her. It is extremely sad and inexplicable that she lost her life at the hands of the person who should have kept her safe. Nothing will bring Melody back, but with this verdict we make clear that we will bring to justice those who harm our children.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Lin Li, 27, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She was convicted today of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree attempted assault following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling. She faces up to 25 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and up to 15 years in prison on the attempted assault charge when she is sentenced on June 24, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 13, 2016, at approximately 8:50 p.m., in an apartment on 47th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the defendant took her 2-year-old daughter Melody Zheng into the bathroom to punish her. She placed Melody inside a storage container in the tub and filled it with water. The defendant then submerged the child’s head under the water until she stopped struggling, according to evidence brought out at trial. She submerged her son under water a day earlier.

The victim was found unconscious and unresponsive when EMS arrived. She was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:20 p.m. The Medical Examiner determined that Melody had multiple bruises and contusions that were consistent with her being held under water and drowned.

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

#

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Rape, Sexual Abuse and Burglary for Allegedly Attacking Elderly Neighbor in Her East New York Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 3, 2019

 

Brooklyn Man Indicted for Rape, Sexual Abuse and Burglary for
Allegedly Attacking Elderly Neighbor in Her East New York Home

Defendant Allegedly Dragged 88-Year-Old Woman to Basement
Where She was Bound and Raped

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 24-year-old Brooklyn man has been arraigned on an indictment for allegedly raping an 88-year-old woman after restraining her in the basement of her East New York home.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly assaulted a vulnerable and defenseless woman in her own home, which should be a safe space. I am committed to seeking justice for victims of sexual assault and intend to hold this defendant fully accountable for this disturbing and violent attack.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Selwyn Worrell, 24, of East New York, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Miller on a 23-count indictment in which he is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree burglary as a sexually motived felony, and related charges. He was ordered held on $500,000 bail and to return to court on July 30, 2019. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 24, 2019, at approximately 1 p.m., the defendant knocked on the victim’s door to access the back door of his home from her backyard. The victim allowed the defendant to walk through her home — as she had on numerous previous occasions when the defendant did not have his keys — and sat down to watch television.

Minutes later, according to the investigation, the defendant allegedly re-entered the victim’s home through the back door, grabbed her by the neck and dragged her to the basement. It is alleged that the defendant bound the victim with an electrical cord, gagged her with a pillow case, punched her in the face, pushed her to the floor and raped her. He then allegedly rummaged through her belongings.

The victim had activated her life alert bracelet to summon help as the defendant was allegedly dragging her down the basement stairs. Approximately a half-hour after sending the alert, EMS arrived, as did the victim’s daughter, and found the victim half-naked on the floor of her basement, bound and gagged. EMS called 911 to alert the police.

The victim’s daughter immediately went to the defendant’s home to tell his family about the assault. When the defendant’s father confronted him, he allegedly fled and was captured by his father several blocks away and detained until police arrived.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Bridget Brodzinski and Assistant District Attorney Brittany Heaney, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

#

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

 

Virginia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison in Connection with Trafficking 217 Firearms Purchased in Virginia to be Sold on the Streets of Brooklyn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

 

Virginia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison in Connection with Trafficking
217 Firearms Purchased in Virginia to be Sold on the Streets of Brooklyn

Defendant, a Leader of the Conspiracy, is 24th Individual to be Sentenced for His Role

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Virginia man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison following his guilty plea earlier this month to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm in connection with an operation that trafficked 217 firearms purchased in his home state to be sold on the streets of Brooklyn. The defendant is the last of 24 defendants, including 22 Virginia residents, sentenced for their involvement in the conspiracy.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I hope today’s substantial prison sentence – and the additional sentences given to each codefendant – sends an unambiguous message: out-of-state gun runners who threaten our communities with deadly weapons will be found, will be prosecuted and will be brought to justice for their crimes. My Office will continue to focus resources on those responsible for driving violent crime as part of my commitment to keeping Brooklyn safe and strengthening community trust.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jaquan Spencer, 24, a.k.a. Madcat. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Harrington to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. He pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm on May 9, 2019.

Among the other top defendants who pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm and have been sentenced are: Damian King, 29, a.k.a. Havoc, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Levar Shelborne, 31, a.k.a. Wavy Boy, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Antwan Walker, 24, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Kenneth Threatts, 23, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Tevin Richardson, 28, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; and Renardo Maye, 22, who was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision.

The remaining defendants pleaded guilty to charges ranging from third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, perjury and fourth-degree conspiracy and received sentences ranging from five years in prison to community service and probation, depending on their roles.

Between June 2016 and February 2017, according to the investigation, the defendants conspired to sell guns purchased in Virginia to a purchaser in Brooklyn. The weapons recovered during the course of the investigation include assault weapons such as AK-47s, AR-15s, Thomson Industries (a.k.a. Tommy guns), Mossberg 715Ts, and MAC-10s. The handguns include a .45 caliber Desert Eagle 1911, Glocks with extended ammunition magazines and 50 round ammunition drums, and handguns of various calibers including .45 caliber, .40 caliber, .380 caliber, and 9mm.

One arm of the criminal organization operated in the area of Henrico and Richmond Counties, while the other arm of the conspiracy operated in the cities of Hampton and Newport News. The individuals comprising each arm of the conspiracy received direction from higher ranking members from each geographic area, who coordinated and organized the joint firearms trafficking operation between the two areas.

The defendants, including Spencer, King and Shelborne, travelled by automobile or took the bus to New York with anywhere from two to 12 guns at a time to meet the purchaser and complete the sale. Other defendants served as so-called ‘straw purchasers,’ individuals who, while legally entitled to purchase firearms under Virginia law, did so in this case only in order to give them to other defendants for illegal resale in Brooklyn.

According to the investigation, the sales took place at various locations in Brooklyn, including in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Sunset Park, and Boerum Hill. The firearms and ammunition were sold at a significant profit. The purchaser paid on average between $800 and $1,200 per hand gun and approximately $1,800 to $2,200 for the assault weapons.

The District Attorney said that the defendants, many of whom are associated with Blood gangs in Virginia and Brooklyn, used proceeds from the gun sales to fund a lavish lifestyle, purchasing drugs, jewelry, clothing, and sneakers, in addition to sending money to jailed associates. In court ordered wiretaps, the defendants are heard labeling themselves traffickers and mocking Virginia’s weak gun laws.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Courtney Leigh Scalice of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, VCE Deputy Chief and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, VCE Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

#

 

Brooklyn DA Moves to Vacate Conviction of Man Who Was Likely Mentally Disabled When He Pleaded Guilty to Rape of Mentally Disabled Acquaintance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 23, 2019

 

Brooklyn DA Moves to Vacate Conviction of Man Who Was
Likely Mentally Disabled When He Pleaded Guilty to
Rape of Mentally Disabled Acquaintance

Analysis of Defendant’s Medical and Psychological History, and Statements, Show He Likely Lacked Capacity to Know She was Unable to Consent Because of Her Disability; Defense Counsel Likely Provided Ineffective Assistance by not Raising Condition as a Defense

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that following a thorough investigation by his Conviction Review Unit, he will move to vacate a rape conviction against Livingston Broomes, 70, who served four years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree rape. A careful analysis of the evidence in the case, including the likely mental disabilities of the defendant and the mental disability of the complaining witness, as well as the lack of a robust defense, led to the decision to vacate the conviction and dismiss the indictment.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “After a lengthy and extensive investigation into this case, I have concluded that the cause of justice requires that we vacate the conviction of Mr. Broomes. Expert analysis of his mental capacity and an examination of the rest of the evidence reveal that the case was prosecuted as if an intellectually able individual had sexual relations with a person incapable of consent. The CRU investigation, however, revealed that he also likely suffered mental disabilities and likely did not receive effective legal assistance. This vacatur is part of my continued commitment to correct any injustice that took place in Brooklyn.”

The defendant will appear today at 2:15 p.m. before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic at 320 Jay Street, 15th floor. Publication of the full CRU report is contingent of the defendant’s waiver.

The District Attorney said that in early May 2011, a 32-year-old woman who had an intellectual disability discovered she was pregnant. She told the police and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office that Broomes, a 63-year-old acquaintance, forced her to have sex with him on multiple occasions. The defendant was arrested on May 3, 2011. On March 15, 2012, the defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree rape, i.e., engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally disabled or mentally incapacitated.

He was sentenced to four years in prison and 10 years’ supervised release. He completed his sentence in September 2014 and was to continue to be on post-release supervision until 2024. He was also required to register as a sex offender.

The CRU investigation revealed that the defendant was born in Barbados and was involved in a motorcycle accident in his late teens or early twenties and was severely injured, suffering two broken legs and serious head trauma that left him comatose for more than six months. He was diagnosed with dementia within weeks of his 2011 arrest. Relatives characterized him as “slow.” The complaining witness was classified as a special needs child and attended a high school for teenagers with developmental disabilities.

Furthermore, the investigation found, the defendant’s counsel didn’t recall that a few months after his arrest he began displaying signs of dementia and admitted he never considered an affirmative defense. According to the transcript of his guilty plea, the defendant told the judge “I really didn’t rape nobody,” but then proceeded to plead guilty.

The CRU investigation included an examination of police and court records, interviews with family members of the complaining witness and defendant, interviews with the defense attorney, and medical reports and examinations of both complaining witness and defendant.

The CRU has concluded that the defendant was likely mentally disabled at the time of the alleged offense and, therefore, pleaded guilty to a crime which he may not have legally committed. Furthermore, the defendant’s likely diminished mental capacity to recognize the complaining witness’s intellectual disability may well have contributed to his inability to comprehend that she could not legally consent to engage in sex or that his conduct was wrong. The CRU has also concluded that his plea was probably unknowing and, consequently, involuntary.

To date, the work of the Conviction Review Unit has resulted in 26 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.

#