Tag Archives: indictment

First-degree murder indictment for alleged Queens Village cop killer


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:08 p.m.

A Queens Village man accused of fatally shooting a police officer last month pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to an indictment that includes first-degree murder charges, District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Demetrius Blackwell, 35, of 212th Place allegedly shot P.O. Brian Moore as the officer and his partner, P.O. Erik Jansen, approached him in their unmarked police cruiser on the night of May 2. Moore was struck in the head and died two days later at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Blackwell was arrested hours after the shooting and remains in custody. He appeared in Queens Criminal Court Thursday afternoon before Judge Joseph Zayas for arraignment on a 12-count indictment that includes charges of first-degree murder, aggravated murder and attempted murder; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and drug possession charges.

If convicted, Blackwell faces life in prison without the possibility of parole — the maximum sentence under New York State law. He remains held without bail and was ordered to return to court on Sept. 17.

“The defendant’s alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law and reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day — and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make — as they carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve our communities,” Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Moore and Jansen, both assigned to the 105th Precinct, were riding in the unmarked car along 104th Road near 212th Street in Queens Village at 6:15 p.m. on May 2 when they allegedly observed Blackwell adjusting his waistband, law enforcement sources said.

The officers then pulled up alongside Blackwell to question him when he allegedly pulled a black firearm out of his waistband and opened fire on the officers, according to police. Moore sustained two gunshot wounds to his head; Jansen was uninjured.

Following the shooting, Blackwell — in an attempt to alter his appearance — stole a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers, prosecutors said. Police, however, caught up to him later that night at his home. The gun he allegedly used — a silver revolver reported stolen from Georgia in 2011 — was also recovered.

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Former park administrator Estelle Cooper indicted on grand larceny


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Former Queens Parks Commissioner Estelle Cooper has been indicted on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing over $50,000 from a nonprofit conservancy group she helped start, according to the district attorney.

Cooper, 82, of Whitestone was arraigned on Tuesday, July 17 in Queens Supreme Court on a two-count indictment charging her with second- and third-degree grand larceny. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted and was released on her own recognizance, said District Attorney Richard Brown.

She is ordered to return to court on September 12.

Cooper, a former administrator of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and assistant commissioner with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, spent 18 years overseeing the large park before resigning in January. She also ran Unisphere Inc., a nonprofit conservancy group she had a huge hand in establishing to fund activities at the park, before stepping down in December 2011.

The alleged fraud was initially discovered in November 2011 as a result of an internal audit conducted by Unisphere, Inc., Brown said. The group’s accountant, Phil Ragusa, said he noticed things were not lining up for 2010 after crunching Unisphere’s numbers. Requests he made to Cooper to check the books for discrepancies were denied, Ragusa said, and information was finally attained through the 501(c)(3) organization’s bank.

The differential was mainly through unauthorized ATM withdrawals that came close to $100,000, he said. The group’s board of directors then hired a lawyer and turned the case over to the Queens district attorney’s office in February.

A Queens County grand jury charged Cooper obtained access to Unisphere funds and then systematically stole over $50,000 between November 1, 2007 and December 31, 2011.

“It’s a sad day,” Ragusa said of the indictment.

Calls to board members were not answered at deadline, and a number for Cooper had been disconnected.

Additional reporting by Terence M. Cullen