Tag Archives: Queens District Attorney Richard Brown

Ozone Park man faces serious jail time for sexually abusing two young girls


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

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An Ozone Park man was convicted this week of sexually preying on young children in their home over a four-year period, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

Melchor Evangelista, 42, was found guilty of having sexual contact with two preadolescent sisters on five separate occasions in their Ozone Park home in 2009 and 2013.

“A jury has convicted the defendant of being a sexual predator who victimized two young girls and betrayed the trust of their parents who had placed their daughters into his care,” Brown said. “As such, he has proven himself to be a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. His conviction ensures that he is punished for his crimes.”

According to the trial testimony, Evangelista engaged in a sexual act on three different occasions between June and August of 2009 with a 6-year-old girl whom he knew. He also attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim during the same time frame.

The victim, too afraid to tell anyone of the incidents, waited until December 2013 to confide in her mother. The mother then asked the victim’s younger sister, who was then 10, if anyone had touched her. She admitted that she woke one night in August 2013 to find Evangelista in her bed and that he had touched her private parts.

Jurors convicted Evangelista Monday of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count each of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree attempted sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, after a one-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Butcher.

Evangelista, who had been free on $50,000 bail since after his January 2014 arrest, had his bail revoked and was ordered held in custody. Sentencing is set for April 28, and Evangelista faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the criminal sexual act charges, 15 years on the attempted rape charge, seven years on the sexual abuse charge, four years on the attempted sexual abuse charge and one year on the endangerment charge.

The investigation was conducted by the NYPD’s Queens Special Victims Squad at the Queens Child Advocacy Center.

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Forest Hills men charged with illegally evicting Richmond Hill homeowner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Two Forest Hills men have been charged with burglary for illegally evicting a Richmond Hill homeowner from his home after the two had won the house in a foreclosure auction, according to authorities.

Semyon (aka Sam) Muratov, 34, and Yuriy (aka Erick) Munarov, 31, were each arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Monday night on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree criminal trespass and unlawful eviction, according to the Queens district attorney,

“More and more we are seeing individuals who are dealing with distressed properties unscrupulously taking advantage of the situation to benefit themselves,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendants in this case are accused of taking the law into their own hands and bullying a homeowner into vacating his residence so that they would not have to deal with a housing court eviction proceeding.”

According to the charges, Muratov placed a $25,000 down payment on a home located on 111th Street in Richmond Hill during a foreclosure sale on Jan. 9 but the sale had not yet gone to closing.

On the same day, Muratov and Munarov reportedly went to the property and told the 59-year-old homeowner that he had to vacate the home because they had bought the house at an auction.

When the homeowner asked for a proof of sale, according to Brown, the men refused to supply evidence and instead told the homeowner he had to hand over the keys and that they would be back in a couple of days to make sure he had left.

Muratov and Munarov then allegedly returned to the property on Jan. 12 and when they couldn’t get into the home, they broke the doorframe and deadbolt lock, and pushed in the front door. They then told the homeowner he could take a few things and when the homeowner said he had nowhere to go, the men gave him $200 in cash to find a place to stay.

The homeowner left the property with some important documents and when he later returned he found all the first-floor doors and windows had been boarded up and chains were on the door lock areas of the front door.

“We are not going to stand for anyone circumventing the law. Our office is working diligently to protect homeowners and tenants who may fall victim to the various unscrupulous and predatory behavior in real estate transactions,” said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito. “People have the right to live undisturbed in their homes and these two individuals are accused of violating the due process rights of the tenant at the address.”

An investigation by the district attorney and sheriff’s offices revealed that on May 6, 2014, there was a judgment of foreclosure and sale on the 111th Street property, even though the homeowner said he was not aware of the foreclosure proceeding. Documents later allegedly showed that the homeowner’s estranged son was served the notice in 2012.

Although the mortgage lender had auctioned off the property on Jan. 9, Muratov would not assume ownership until there was a closing with full payment for the property and transfer of the deed, according to the district attorney. Even after the closing, there would have had to been a lawful eviction proceeding of the homeowner.

Both Muratov and Munarov face up to 15 years in prison if convicted and were ordered held on $5,000 bond or $2,500 bail. They are scheduled to return to court on May 5.

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Seven alleged southeast Queens gang members busted for murder plots


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com


Counting themselves among “killas,” seven street gang members based in southeast Queens were indicted for allegedly plotting two murders, prosecutors said.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the suspects are part of the EBK (Everybody Killas) gang, which allegedly carried out plots in January 2013 to shoot two individuals whom they believed were members of a rival gang. One of the murder attempts took place in a busy shopping district during the evening rush hour, while the other occurred a few hours later at a grocery store, according to Brown.

“In both instances, the defendants’ alleged actions threatened the lives and safety of innocent bystanders as the victims were fired upon,” said Brown on Friday. “Today’s indictment is another example of police and prosecutors working together to reduce gang-based violence that too often plagues our neighborhoods.”

Brown identified the seven suspects as Jeffrey Bien-Aime, 19, of St. Albans; Anthony Biggs, 18, of St. Albans; Jonathan Jean-Pierre, 20, of Rosedale; Dayjah Knowles, 18, of Jamaica; Jerald Lowe, 22, of St. Albans; Kenneth Stokes, 20, of St. Albans; and Rasheed Watson, 22, of Jamaica.

All were variously charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.

If convicted, each suspect faces up to 25 years behind bars.

Law enforcement sources said the first shooting occurred at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2013, when Lowe, Bien-Aime, Watson, Jean-Pierre, Knowles and Stokes, along with unidentified EBK members, allegedly confronted rival gang members near Jamaica Avenue and Parsons Boulevard.

Following a verbal exchange, one of the EBK members pulled out a pistol and shot a rival in the right foot. The group then fled the scene, police said.

More than four hours later, Biggs, Stokes and two unidentified EBK members allegedly confronted another suspected rival at a deli located at 116-02 Merrick Blvd., according to prosecutors. Moments after arriving, an EBK member reportedly walked into the store, drew a .380-caliber pistol and shot the suspected rival in the left abdomen.

After the wounded rival fell to the ground, the EBK member attempted to fire again, but the gun jammed, authorities said.

Both of the gang’s targets were treated for their injuries at a local hospital. Detectives determined from shell casings recovered from both crime scenes that the same gun was used in each incident.

“I want to thank the members of the 113th Precinct who worked closely together with the Queens District Attorney’s office to build this case against these alleged EBK gang members,” Bratton said. “The NYPD remains committed to eliminating gang activity and improving the quality of life for the residents of the southern Queens communities.”

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Homeless Queens woman sentenced for 2010 Astoria Park beating, strangulation


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


A 33-year-old homeless woman has been sentenced to 17 years to life in prison for her role in the 2010 fatal beating and strangulation of a 32-year-old man in Astoria Park, according to the Queens district attorney.

Kelly Harnett, whose last known address was in Astoria, was convicted of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and sentenced on Thursday at the Queens Supreme Court.

“The defendant, along with a male co-defendant, brutally attacked a 32-year-old man in the park. The victim was robbed of his wallet and viciously beaten and choked to death,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “This willful act of violence warranted a lengthy prison term.”

According to Brown, on July 7, 2010, at about 4 a.m. Harnett, together with Thomas Donovan, attacked the victim, Ruben Angel Vargas, by choking him manually and also with a shoelace from Harnett’s sneaker. Vargas was then kicked repeatedly in the head and torso and his wallet was taken while he lay motionless on the ground.

Donovan pleaded guilty in 2010 to first-degree manslaughter and is currently serving 15 years in prison.

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Woodside babysitter guilty in 2010 death of 9-month-old boy


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


A Woodside woman has been found guilty of manslaughter in the death of a 9-month-old baby boy, who in 2010 was violently shaken by his babysitter.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, 42-year-old Yohani Moran was found guilty on Monday for second-degree manslaughter after a four-week-long trial in Queens Supreme Court.

On March 10, 2010, at about 2 p.m. the baby boy, Dilan Criollo, was dropped off by his mother at Moran’s Woodside apartment, Brown said. At the time of the drop-off, Dilan was “vibrant and in good health.”

Moran then fed the baby and he took a nap. Later in the afternoon Dilan “became fussy” and Moran shook him violently and he immediately went limp and became unresponsive, according to Brown.

The child was then taken to the hospital where doctors determined he had suffered extensive subdural hematomas, severe brain swelling and bleeding in his eyes, as well as a bilateral retinal detachment, according to trial records. Dilan was placed on a ventilator and later died.

“Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year. The victims are innocent, helpless children and are too often harmed by those entrusted to care for and protect them. In this case, the toddler suffered extensive bleeding on the brain, swelling and damage to his eyes,” Brown said. “Despite life-saving efforts by medical personnel, the child died. The defendant – who is herself a mother – has now been found guilty and faces a lengthy term behind bars.”

Moran is expected back in court on April 14 and faces up to 15 years in prison.

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Career criminal busted for stealing airbags, hybrid battery pack in Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Shoreline

A 48-year-old man, with more than 20 arrests in about two decades on his record, is now being charged with breaking into several cars and stealing airbags, and in one case a hybrid vehicle battery pack, according to authorities.

Peter C. Ali, an Astoria resident, was arraigned on March 5 and charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, third-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, possession of burglar’s tools, petit larceny and resisting arrest.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, on Dec. 28, 2014, Ali broke into a late model Toyota Camry yellow taxi parked on Queens Boulevard and 52nd Street in Woodside and removed the car’s hybrid battery pack, valued at about $4,000.

Later, on Feb. 25, Ali was allegedly seen using a flashlight to look into the interior of a silver Toyota Camry on the corner of 21st Street and 29th Avenue in Astoria before stealing the car’s airbag. The next day, Ali allegedly took another airbag from a 2010 Toyota minivan parked near Austin Street and Union Turnpike in Forest Hills.

Ali was caught on March 5 as officers of the Grand Larceny Unit witnessed him stealing an airbag from a car in Astoria , according to a police source.

The incident with the hybrid battery was one of 11 that have occurred in the confines of the 108th Precinct since November. During those incidents, car thieves walked away with the expensive batteries from the trunks of the vehicles. The investigation for the remaining 10 cases is ongoing.

Ali is currently being held on $100,000 bail and his next court date is scheduled for March 18. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

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Flushing man charged in bomb scare at DA office building in Kew Gardens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A 49-year-old Flushing man has been arraigned and charged following a bomb scare on Tuesday at a Kew Gardens building that houses law enforcement offices for the Queens District Attorney, New York State Police and FBI.

While holding a package, Scott Sasonkin entered the lobby of the building located at 80-02 Kew Gardens Road at about 11 a.m. on Tuesday and told a security guard that he had a bomb and wanted to kill everyone in the building, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Sasonkin then allegedly placed the package on the floor.

A sergeant from the district attorney’s office who responded to the incident allegedly saw Sasonkin standing next to the package. The suspect then allegedly told the sergeant, in some words, “I’m a suicide bomber, my bomb is in this package, it’s a pipe bomb. I went to the hardware store and bought the fertilizer and a pipe. I learned how to make the bomb from the Internet, it has a detonator and a timer.”

Sasonkin followed by stating that he picked the building because “it’s famous and has a lot of law enforcement in it.”

The NYPD’s Bomb Squad inspected the package and determined it did not contain an explosive device and was not a bomb, according to the district attorney. Sasonkin was then arrested and taken to a local hospital.

“When a threat is posed by an organized enterprise or by a so-called lone wolf, law enforcement must respond promptly and effectively – as they did in this case – in order to protect our communities from those who would do us harm,” Brown said. “Fortunately, the bomb threat in this case proved to be a hoax. However, those responding personnel had no way of knowing that fact at the time. I thank them for their professionalism and restraint in the face of adversity.”

Sasonkin was arraigned on Wednesday night in the Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging him with first-degree reckless endangerment, first-, second- and third-degree falsely reporting an incident, first-degree placing a false bomb and making a terroristic threat. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

Sasonkin was held without bail pending the results of a mental health evaluation and has been ordered to return to court on March 23.

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Elmhurst man stabs wife with kitchen knife, fakes her suicide note: DA


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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The estranged husband of an Elmhurst woman was charged Thursday night with stabbing his wife to death with a kitchen knife and trying to make the murder look like a suicide, authorities said.

Luis Paguay, 43, was arrested after police found his wife, 39-year-old Maria Paguay, unconscious and unresponsive with stab wounds on her body inside her 50th Avenue basement apartment at about 6 p.m., cops said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Paguay allegedly stabbed his wife multiple times in the neck and chest with a large kitchen knife sometime between Wednesday night and before 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. The victim’s 19-year-old son found her as he returned home from school.

After stabbing his wife, Paguay allegedly wrote a suicide note in his wife’s name and then left for his job as a dishwasher at Ducale Restaurant in Whitestone, Brown said. When he arrived at the restaurant he allegedly saw he had blood on his shoes and according to surveillance footage, he attempted to wash his shoes in a sink.

According to the New York Daily News, the couple had recently separated and the victim’s husband had gotten angry that she was in a new relationship.

Paguay, who is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, was charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

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Astoria man charged as serial tagger for graffiti acts


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens district attorney's office

An Astoria man was indicted Wednesday for allegedly tagging trees, traffic control boxes and more in the past year, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Michael Mestric was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on 19 counts of criminal mischief and 19 counts of making graffiti.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the 30-year-old “found a canvas for his tag at nearly every turn.”

Between May 2013 and April of this year, Mestric’s tag “AOE” was found spray painted on highway walls along the Grand Central Parkway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Long Island Expressway, Brown said. Mestric is also being charged for tagging control boxes, a fence, tree, and a historic observation deck at Astoria Park.

“Graffiti is not art – nor is it a victimless crime. Tagging encourages lawlessness. It leads to decreased property values and is expensive to remove,” Brown said.

The damage and cost of removing the graffiti allegedly exceeded $12,500, with the observation deck at Astoria Park alone costing more than $2,500 to repair.

If convicted, Mestric faces up to seven years in prison.

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Alleged Queens gang members indicted on charges of conspiring to commit murder, robbery


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens district attorney's office

Thirty-one reputed southeast Queens gang members have been indicted on charges of conspiring to murder two people and conspiring to commit robberies in order to bail out an alleged teenage gang leader, officials said.

The men, who range in age from 15 to 22, are alleged to be members of three street gangs knows as SNOW, Loyalty Over Everything and Young Bosses, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Under the first indictment, 17 of the alleged members are being charged for conspiring to kill two supposed members of a rival gang in retaliation for the fatal shooting of a SNOW gang member, Brown said.

In the second indictment, 16 people were charged with conspiring to commit robberies, after alleged leader of the SNOW gang leader, 17-year-old Daquan Monroe, allegedly ordered them to do so in order to raise money to bail him out of Rikers Island, officials said.

“These indictments are another example of police and prosecutors working together to eliminate gang violence that too often plagues our neighborhood and strikes at the heart of a unified and criminally active group of young people who threaten the lives and safety of innocent bystanders,” Brown said.

On Tuesday, 20 of the men in custody were arraigned in the Queens Supreme Court and 11 of the other alleged members are currently being sought.

Out of the 17 charged on the first indictment, 16 are being charged with conspiracy and face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted. The remaining defendant is a juvenile and faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

In the conspiracy to commit robberies, if convicted, two men face up to 25 years in prison, four men face up to seven years and the remaining 10 face up to four years.

“The arrest and indictments of these SNOW gang members and their affiliates send a clear message that the New York City Police Department, along with our partners from the Queens District Attorney’s Office, will continue to rid our communities of gang activity and gun violence,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

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Queens doctor ordered to pay back more than $65K in insurance scheme


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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One South Richmond Hill physician, who pleaded guilty to deceiving insurance companies and fraudulently billing medical tests he never performed, will now have to return more than $65,000, according to the district attorney’s office.

Dr. Rajpaul Singh, who ran Liberty Avenue Medical P.C. located at 133-13 Liberty Ave. until 2011, pleaded guilty in June to falsifying business records, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. He was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge, with one condition being that he would have to pay back amounts totaling $65,849.25.

According to the charges, various people who had been injured in vehicle accidents went to the medical clinic for treatment. Between March 2009 and March 2011, Singh billed the various insurance companies and the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board for procedures claimed to be performed on the patients.

These tests were never performed, and the test results were falsified by substituting them with old patient results, according to prosecutors. This led to the insurance companies making payments to Liberty Advance Medical.

“This case makes clear that law enforcement’s fight against insurance fraud is ongoing and that those who cheat will be held accountable,” Brown said.

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East Elmhurst man busted after child porn found on computer during Best Buy repair


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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One East Elmhurst man has been slapped with charges of possessing child pornography after bringing his laptop to Best Buy for repair.

On April 1, a technician at the electronics store located in Long Island City began working on a laptop that was dropped off by 61-year-old Michael Murray on March 26 to get repaired, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

After turning on and rebooting the computer the technician found the screen saver to contain a slide show of multiple young girls posing provocatively or engaging in sexual acts with adult men, Brown said. Once the worker altered his supervisor about the images, 15 photographs of young girls were found and the police was called.

“This defendant is alleged to have had some very disturbing photographs of children being sexually abused on his computer,” Brown said. “These photographs depict real children who will no doubt be emotionally and physically scarred for the rest of their lives.”

The district attorney added that detectives went to Murray’s East Elmhurst home Wednesday morning, where he allegedly admitted to knowing what was on his screen saver. Murray also allegedly admitted he had been sharing child pornography files with other people on the Internet for about five years.

Murray has been charged with 15 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. If convicted, Murray could face up to four years in prison.

 

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Five Queens men charged in alleged luxury car theft ring


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A luxury automobile theft ring responsible for allegedly stealing 48 high-end vehicles, valued at close to $2.4 million has been shut down,  District Attorney Richard Brown announced Wednesday.

As a result of the investigation, 18 people have been charged, including five people from Queens, said Brown.

Those charged are accused of stealing the cars from Queens County and around the tri-state area. The vehicles included Bentley Continental GTC Convertible, Mercedes Benz s550 4matic, as well as Audis, BMWs Range Rovers, Jeep Grand Cherokees and a Porsche Panamera. They allegedly stole,  “tagged” the cars, then used “brokers” to sell them.

“The defendants charged in this case, dubbed ‘Operation Title Wave,’ brazenly shopped for high-end luxury vehicles as orders from their criminal cohorts were placed – plucking the automobiles right out of dealerships,” said Brown.

The defendants have been charged with enterprise corruption,  grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, conspiracy, illegal possession of a vehicle identification number, forgery of a vehicle identification number and forgery. If convicted, those charged with enterprise corruption face up to 25 years in prison. The other defendants face maximum sentences of between seven and 15 years in prison.

“The ring of thieves arrested in this case treated driveways, dealerships, parking lots and other locations like their personal showrooms, used GPS to track luxury vehicles and then burglarized businesses and unlocked vehicles for keys to drive their selections away,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “Some are alleged to have additionally dealt narcotics.”

In addition to the auto crime charges, it was alleged that one of the defendants, Albert Natanov from Flushing, also operated a narcotics trafficking ring with two other individuals – Raymond O’Connell and Anthony Carrington – from which more than 20 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $1 million were recovered.

In the narcotics case, the three defendants have been charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance, attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy, criminal sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana.

The defendants were arraigned earlier this week in Queens Supreme Court and ordered to return to court on January 15.

 

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Boxing champ arrested at JFK for gun possession


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

A professional boxer is getting ready for a fight with the judicial system after being arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Robert Guerrero, current WBC welterweight champion, was arrested on Thursday after he presented a locked gun box to a JFK ticket agent containing a pistol and three high capacity bullet magazines, all of which were unloaded at the time.

Guerrero is charged with one count of criminal possession of a firearm and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

“I hope that Mr. Guerrero fights better than he thinks. For anyone who hasn’t gotten the message, let me be crystal clear. You cannot bring an unlicensed weapon – loaded or unloaded – into this county or this city. And if you do you will be arrested and face felony charges,” Brown said in a statement.

Earlier this year, New York passed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, one of the strictest gun laws passed in the country. Under the law, it is a penalty to illegally possess an unloaded firearm in the state.

“It is therefore more important than ever that if a passenger chooses to travel with a weapon, they should first acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and comply with any and all legal requirements,” Brown said. “Otherwise, they may find themselves being arrested and charged with a felony, as is what occurred in this case.”

Guerrero, 30 of Gilroy, California,was released on his own recognizance and will appear in court on May 14. If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.

 

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Queens gang members sentenced to 50 years for shooting death of 13-year-old


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

After killing a 13-year-old boy and injuring another innocent bystander during a rival street gang shooting in Queens, two Crips members have each been sentenced to 50 years in prison, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced.

“Without the slightest regard for human life, the defendants recklessly turned the streets of Queens County into a deadly battleground that claimed the life of an innocent young student walking home from school and wounded a second hard-working teenager, said Brown. “The lengthy prison sentence imposed today is more than justified and sends a strong message to others who might think of resorting to gunfire to settle disputes.”

Gregory Calas, 21, of St. Albans, and Nnonso Ekwegbalu, 19, of Springfield Gardens, were convicted last November of first-degree manslaughter for the death of Kevin Miller.

According to the district attorney, on the afternoon of October 2, 2009, Miller was killed when a bullet struck him during a shootout between members of the Bloods and Crips. Pedro Garcia, 17, who was working at a corner car wash, was also shot in the leg. Both teens were not involved in the altercation or members of the gangs.