Teen Gunman Sentenced to 12 Years to Life in Prison for Murder of Innocent Man on Crowded Bus during Rush Hour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

 

Teen Gunman Sentenced to 12 Years to Life in Prison for
Murder of Innocent Man on Crowded Bus during Rush Hour

Victim Shot in Head and Killed by Gang Member

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced today that a Bedford-Stuyvesant teenager has been sentenced to 12 years to life in prison. The defendant was convicted earlier this year on charges of second-degree murder for pulling out a .357 Magnum revolver on a crowded city bus during rush hour to open fire on rival gang members, and instead, shooting an innocent 39-year-old man in the back of the head, killing him.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This young man will have many years in prison to think about how his act of senseless gang violence destroyed a family and took the life of an innocent man, Angel Rojas, who left behind a wife and two young children. He will now be held accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Kahton Anderson, 16, of 660 Gates Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo today sentenced Anderson, as a juvenile, to 12 years to life in prison on his second-degree murder conviction, and three to nine years on his second-degree attempted murder conviction, ordering both sentences to run concurrently. Anderson was convicted following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on the afternoon of March 20, 2014, Anderson – a Stack Money Goons gang member – was on a southbound B15 bus when three members of the rival Twan Family gang boarded. Anderson, who was 14-years-old at the time, pulled out a .357 revolver from his backpack and opened fire.

Angel Rojas, 39, who was married and the father of an 8-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, was sitting in a forward facing seat on the bus, talking on a cell phone. He was struck in the back of the head. After shooting Rojas, the defendant ran off the bus to pursue his rivals and continued to shoot until he emptied his gun. Rojas was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Woodhull Hospital.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Chief of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Iris Das, of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

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Police Officer Convicted of Assault for Stomping on Suspect’s Head

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 29, 2016

 

Police Officer Convicted of Assault for Stomping on Suspect’s Head

Incident Caught on Cell Phone Video

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a New York City Police Officer has been convicted of misdemeanor assault for stomping on the head of a suspect while he was face down on the ground, in the process of being handcuffed by other officers.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This police officer, in broad daylight and in front of a crowd of people, stomped on the head of a suspect while he lay on the ground, subdued and surrounded by other officers.  That’s why he was indicted, put on trial and convicted.  His conduct was simply outrageous.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Joel Edouard, 38, of Elmont, NY, who was assigned to the 81st precinct at the time of the incident. He was found guilty today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus of one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, after a non-jury trial. The defendant is facing a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a minimum sentence of a conditional discharge when he is sentenced on June 10, 2016. 

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on July 23, 2014, at about 7:30 p.m., in the vicinity of 223 Malcolm X Boulevard, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the defendant and his partner observed Jahmi-El Cuffee, 32, drinking on the sidewalk and possessing what appeared to be marijuana. Cuffee resisted arrest and tussled with the officers. Additional officers arrived on the scene to assist Officer Edouard and his partner.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, a witness to the incident captured a cell phone video which depicts Cuffee on the ground, face down and being subdued by several officers. Also depicted on the video is Officer Edouard briefly pointing his gun at Cuffee, walking away from the scene of the arrest and then walking back and stomping on Cuffee’s head as he lay on the ground. Cuffee’s head then hit the concrete, causing him to suffer a contusion and later dizziness, headaches and nausea.

The case was investigated by Sergeant Amy Morin of the New York City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner of Internal Affairs Joseph Reznick.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and Assistant District Attorney India Sneed, also of the Civil Rights Bureau, under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.

 

Baltimore Man Convicted of Attempted Murder And Other Charges for Shooting Three Individuals in Bedford-Stuyvesant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 25, 2016

 

Baltimore Man Convicted of Attempted Murder
And Other Charges for Shooting Three Individuals in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 27-year-old man was convicted of attempted murder and other charges for opening fire on a Bedford-Stuyvesant street, striking three people. He faces up to 75 years in state prison when he is sentenced.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant brazenly pulled out a handgun and fired nine times on a street filled with people going about their business. He struck three people, all of whom are lucky to be alive. Now he’s been held accountable and faces many years in prison.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Cush Wright-El, 27, of Baltimore, Maryland. He was convicted of one count of second-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo. He will be sentenced on May 10, 2016, at which time he faces a maximum of up to 75 years in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 1, 2014, at approximately 5:45 p.m., in the vicinity of Pulaski Street and Stuyvesant Avenue, the defendant, dressed in a dark hooded sweatshirt, approached William Mayo, 57, and his nephew, Kayshawn Mayo, 16, as they played a game of chess and opened fire, striking the older man in the ankle and the teenager in the shoulder and back, and grazing his head.

Furthermore, according to trial testimony, the defendant then ran down the street and continued firing, striking bystander Judith Daniel, 61, in the right leg, foot and left calf. William Mayo’s nephew, Demetrious Mayo, 28, got into his car and followed the defendant, allegedly ramming into him. The defendant was arrested and a .40 caliber weapon was recovered in a hooded jacket. Nine shell casings were recovered at the scene of the shooting.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Chief of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Krystyn Tendy, also of the Grey Zone.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 22 Years to Life in Prison for Murder at the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 22 Years to Life in Prison for
Murder at the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Fort Greene man has been sentenced to 22 years to life in prison following his conviction earlier this month on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon for the 2014 killing of a 42-year-old Boerum Hill man.

District Attorney Thompson said, “Keeping the residents of Brooklyn safe from senseless gun violence is my top priority. This case shows our resolve to punish anyone who uses guns to settle scores.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Shaquille Upson, 22, of North Portland Avenue, in the Walt Whitman Houses. He was sentenced to 22 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, following his conviction earlier this month on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 14, 2014 at approximately 12:10 a.m., the defendant fired multiple shots at Armal Mallory, 42, who was standing outside of 79 North Oxford Walk, which is located at the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene.  The victim was shot multiple times and sustained gunshot wounds to the chest, leg and neck, ultimately dying of his injuries

An eyewitness, who knew the defendant, observed the defendant shoot the deceased, according to trial testimony. The witness heard several more shots as he fled. Video surveillance footage showed the defendant entering a nearby building shortly after the shooting, wearing clothing that matched the description given by the eyewitness. In addition, the defendant made an incriminating Facebook post and an incriminating phone call from Rikers Island, which were both introduced into evidence at trial.

The case was investigated by Detective Herbert Martin of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad and Detective Joseph Rodriguez of the 88th Precinct Detective Squad. District Attorney Detective Investigators Robert Galvin and Chip Nigro assisted in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lewis Lieberman, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Announces Summer High School Internships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

Brooklyn District Attorney Announces Summer High School Internships

Joint Partnership with United Federation of Teachers; Program Offers Unique Exposure
To the Inner Workings of the Criminal Justice System

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, today announced that the District Attorney’s office is hosting a competitive summer internship program for high school students who live or attend school in the borough. Students with an interest in criminal justice or public service will participate in a comprehensive five-week program.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This inaugural program is a hands-on internship that will pair high school students with Assistant District Attorneys, offering the interns an insider’s view of the inner workings of one of the largest DA’s offices in the country. It’s a terrific opportunity to learn, grow and be mentored in a professional environment.”

President Mulgrew said, “This internship provides young people with real world experiences and expands the education process beyond the classroom. We are happy to join with the office of the Brooklyn District Attorney to help students acquire important new skills.”

Selected students will be assigned to a unit within the DA’s office and will support the work of Assistant District Attorneys and other members of the DA’s staff. They can expect to assist with legal research and analysis using the Internet, news articles and legal periodicals; assist attorneys on pretrial matters; work on case preparation, discovery, file maintenance and organizing court documents; participate in trial zone workshops; participate in judicial, legal and law enforcement-related  field trips; and observe criminal proceedings including trials, guilty pleas and sentencings.

The program is open to qualifying sophomores, juniors and rising seniors who must be able to commit to the entire duration of the program, which will run from July 11, 2016 to August 12, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Friday.

Students will receive a weekly $150 stipend and a MetroCard. Applicants are required to supply their most recent school transcripts, a one-page resume, two letters of recommendation and evaluation forms, from either a teacher, coach, or mentor, and must submit a 300 word typed essay (12 pt. font and double-spaced) on why they are interested in interning with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and what impact they think it will have on their future personal and professional endeavors.

Completed documents should be emailed to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office at edprograms@brooklynda.org in pdf format, with the subject line: “Brooklyn DA Summer Internship Program,” no later than May 20, 2016.

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Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson Regarding the Sentencing of Peter Liang

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 

Statement of Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson
Regarding the Sentencing of Peter Liang

“My office vigorously prosecuted Peter Liang for manslaughter because the evidence established that his conduct was criminal and the rule of law demanded that he be held accountable for his actions in taking Akai Gurley’s life.

The jury, the voice of the Brooklyn community, agreed and returned the verdict of guilty against Mr. Liang, who is now a convicted felon, forfeited his career as a police officer and must now always live with the fact that he recklessly caused Mr. Gurley’s death.

While our sentencing recommendation was fair under the unique circumstances of this case, we respectfully disagree with the judge’s decision to reduce the jury’s verdict and will fight to reverse it on appeal.”

 

 

Two East New York Men Convicted of Kidnapping for Hire, Murder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 

Two East New York Men Convicted of Kidnapping for Hire, Murder

Victim’s Body Found in Queens, Throat Cut from Ear-to-Ear

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that two East New York men have been convicted of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree murder and related charges for the forced abduction and murder of a Williamsburg man.

District Attorney Thompson said, “These two defendants kidnapped a man and then slit his throat all for money, drugs and a car.  They will now pay a steep price for their barbaric acts.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Tramel Cuencas, 24, and Irving Gavin, 28, both of 702 Warwick Street in East New York, Brooklyn. Defendant Cuencas was convicted on April 14, 2016, of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree robbery following a jury trial. Defendant Gavin was convicted of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary by a separate jury on April 18, 2016. Both defendants will be sentenced before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on May 3, 2016 at which time they face a maximum of ­­­50 years to life behind bars.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on the afternoon of November 14, 2012, the defendants forced their way into the apartment of Thomas Dudley and held him and three other occupants at gun point. They then took approximately $10,000 from a safe inside the home. Three of the victim’s family members, including his 8-year-old sister, were in the apartment at the time.

The defendants then forced the victim to get dressed, tied his hands and then directed him into a U-haul truck waiting outside. The victim’s body was found the following day in Forest Park, Queens; his throat was cut from ear-to-ear and both wrists were slashed.

After the defendants, both members of the Elm Street Piru gang, were arrested on November 19, 2012, they made incriminating statements admitting to the kidnapping and indicated that the kidnapping was ordered by another gang member as retaliation for an alleged drug dispute involving the victim. In exchange for kidnapping Dudley, the defendants expected to be paid in cash, drugs and his Jaguar.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Erik Malak of the 90 Precinct Detective Squad and Detectives Robert McCormick and Kahlid Ragab of the 102nd Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Peter Galasso of the Queens Homicide Squad.

The case was prosecuted by First Deputy Chief Alfred De Igeniis and Assistant District Attorney James Slattery of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Kenneth Taub, Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 45 Years to Life in Prison For Robbing and Attempting to Rape Woman in Bedford-Stuyvesant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 18, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 45 Years to Life in Prison
For Robbing and Attempting to Rape Woman in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Victim Attacked After Being Followed Into Apartment Building

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Brooklyn man was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison for attacking a 22-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant woman and trying to rape her after she entered the lobby of her Myrtle Avenue apartment building.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant cowardly stalked and attacked a defenseless woman and tried to rape her before running off with her cell phone and cash. Today’s sentence holds him accountable and will give him plenty of time to think about his actions.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as John Duncan, 43, of 1419 Bushwick Avenue, in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The defendant was today sentenced to an indeterminate term of 45 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Ingram. He was convicted on March 21, 2016, of first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony, first-degree robbery as a sexually motivated felony, first-degree attempted rape and first-degree sexual abuse following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 10, 2014, at approximately 1:50 p.m., the victim, a 22-year-old woman, who had been grocery shopping, was walking home from the supermarket and entering her apartment building when the defendant grabbed her from behind and put his arm around her throat, and told her he had a gun, not to look at him, and that he wasn’t going to rape her, he was just going to rob her.

The defendant pushed the woman into the lobby of her building, according to trial testimony, and took her cell phone and $60. He pushed her down onto the stairs and pushed her onto her knees, tied her hands behind her back, ripped off her shirt and tore it into pieces and took a piece of her shirt and shoved it down her throat. He put his hand in her bra and then ripped off the bra and used it to cover the victim’s face.

After repeatedly saying he was not going to rape her, according to testimony, the defendant pulled down the victim’s pants and underwear, and began to unbuckle his pants and belt. The victim began pleading loudly with the defendant to stop and let her go and he ran off. The victim then went to her apartment and called 911.

The defendant was ultimately arrested, according to testimony, after surveillance video that was recovered from the supermarket and the streets near the victim’s home showed the defendant following her as she shopped and then following her home. The video was released to the press and an anonymous caller identified the defendant, who subsequently surrendered to police and made incriminating statements.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Bridget K. Brodzinski and Senior Assistant District Attorney Lisa Nugent of the Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.

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Bay Ridge Insurance Agent Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison For Stealing from Elderly Victims as a Hate Crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 15, 2016

 

Bay Ridge Insurance Agent Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison
For Stealing from Elderly Victims as a Hate Crime

Used Financial Fraud to Pilfer Almost $4.5 Million in
Retirement Plans and Life Savings from 21 Victims

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Staten Island man with a business in Bay Ridge was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison following his guilty plea to grand larceny as a hate crime, scheme to defraud and money laundering. The defendant targeted vulnerable, elderly victims, some of whom he had befriended, and scammed them out of almost $4.5 million in hard-earned savings.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant deserves to spend significant time in prison for his shameful exploitation of elderly people who lacked financial savvy. He took advantage of them and stole the money they saved for their Golden Years. We will be as aggressive in prosecuting anyone who commits crimes against senior citizens and other vulnerable residents of Brooklyn.”

The District Attorney said that the defendant, Paul Simoneschi, 70, of 57 Benedict Avenue in Staten Island, was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to an indeterminate term of four to 12 years in prison following his guilty plea on January 19, 2016 to first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree money laundering and second-degree grand larceny as a hate crime. At the time of the plea, Simoneschi signed judgment orders of restitution totaling $4,477,562, which is the amount he stole from his victims.

Additionally, Simoneschi’s corporation, Simmons Planning Group & Agency, Inc., has pleaded guilty to first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree money laundering and second-degree grand larceny.

The District Attorney said that between March 10, 2008 and  July 29, 2015, the defendant, who is a licensed insurance agent and financial planner, owned and operated Simmons Planning Group & Agency Inc., located at 8403 7th Avenue, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and sold insurance policies and annuities to his clients.

The defendant developed long-term relationships with some of these clients, including senior citizens who were not financially savvy and over time gained the trust of his clients. Some of the clients were Italian immigrants whom he spoke to in Italian. The investigation revealed that Simoneschi stole from his clients by various means, including:

  • Recommending that they surrender their insurance policies and invest the money with him. Instead of investing the money, he allegedly stole it by depositing it into his accounts that he controlled and using the money for himself.
  • In other instances, he allegedly surrendered his victims’ insurance policies without their permission or knowledge, forging their names and subsequently depositing the checks into accounts that he controlled.

Simoneschi tried to conceal his crimes by providing false documents to many of his victims, including copies of “new” policies opened on their behalf. At times, he gave them checks purported to be distributions from their policies or accounts, but which were actually checks from other accounts he controlled. In total, he stole $4.477 million from 21 victims, many of whom were in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.  The victims lost amounts ranging from $1,000 to over $1 million.

The District Attorney said that the scheme was discovered after the defendant contacted one of his victims to tell the victim that he should reinvest his money in a new policy. The victim  declined the offer, but later discovered that his account had been raided and that only $2,000 remained when the balance should have been more than $300,000. He reported the matter to police. An investigation discovered the additional victims, who had not been aware that they had been victimized.

The case was investigated by Detective Mark Lombardo of the New York City Police Department’s 68th precinct detective squad, under the supervision of Captain Aaron Klein and Sergeant Regina Debellis.

It was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Hubert Dixon and Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the overall supervision Chief Investigator Richard Bellucci. Financial Investigators Ludwig Sanchez and Shaakira Calnick, also of the DA’s Office, assisted in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Maria Leonardi and Heidi Bausk of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division.

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Brooklyn Man Convicted for Killing Teen in Christmas Eve Shooting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 14, 2016

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted for Killing Teen in Christmas Eve Shooting

Struck Victim Seven Times following Argument on Facebook

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 20-year-old man from Coney Island, Brooklyn has been convicted of murder for shooting a teenager who was walking his dog on Christmas Eve 2013. An argument on Facebook preceded the fatal incident.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant escalated an online dispute into a deadly shooting. He took a life for no reason at all and will now pay for it dearly by spending many years in prison.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jerome Leslie, 20, of 2820 West 32nd Street in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. The defendant will be sentenced on May 4, 2016 at which time he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on December 24, 2013 at about 7 p.m., the defendant shot and killed Yaquin English, 17, outside 3144 Bayview Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Moments earlier, the defendant went to the victim’s apartment building, looking for him. A short time later, the victim got off the elevator with his dog, a pit-bull. Before he re-entered the building, the defendant opened fire, striking the victim seven times, killing him, the evidence showed. The dog, which was tied to a railing, sustained a wound to the paw.

In the weeks leading up to the shooting, the victim engaged in an argument on Facebook regarding his female cousin, who was romantically involved with the defendant. Leslie threatened to kill English during the online correspondence, a witness testified.

The defendant was arrested in February 2014 and subsequently made a statement to detectives, admitting his involvement in the shooting.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Matthew Stewart of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Kenneth Taub, Chief.

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