Tag Archives: Queens Supreme Court

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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Avonte Oquendo’s mom files suit against city: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Handout

The mother of Avonte Oquendo has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, charging various agencies and individuals with negligence leading to the death of the 14-year-old autistic teen, according to published reports.

Vanessa Fontaine reportedly filed the suit last week in Queens Supreme Court blaming the Department of Education, NYPD and members of Avonte’s Long Island City school for her son’s death.

Among the Center Boulevard School individuals are school safety agent Bernadette Perez and principal Susan McNulty, reports said.

The 14-year-old was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City across the street from the East River last October. Surveillance footage caught the teen running through the halls unsupervised before leaving the building. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

The lawsuit does not have a dollar amount, according to reports, however family attorney David Perecman previously said the family would be seeking $25 million.

 

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Jamaica man gets 95 years to life for double murder, attempted murder


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Jamaica man has been sentenced to 95 years to life for a December 2011 shooting spree where he fatally shot an 18-year-old, then shot and killed one man and injured another man on a city bus while fleeing, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“The defendant’s capacity for causing senseless violence in such a short period of time can only be described as incomprehensible and as having no place in a civilized society,” said Brown. “His actions were both vicious and unprovoked. The sentence imposed by the Court is more than justified in order to punish the defendant and forever protect society.”

According to the District Attorney, Damel O. Burton, 34,  shot Keith Murrell, 18, once in the chest inside Murrell’s Foch Boulevard apartment.  After being shot, Murrell fled into his room, closed the door and jumped from the second-story window. He was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

Burton then left the apartment and walked to the Q111 bus stop, where he got on a bus. While on the bus Burton fatally shot Marvin Gilkes, 36, in the back of the head and shot Jojuan Lipsey, 31, in the face. Gilkes was pronounced dead at the scene. Lipsey was removed to Jamaica Hospital and underwent surgery.

Burton was convicted earlier this month of  two counts of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

 

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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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Homeless woman found guilty for 2010 Astoria Park murder


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY JOHANN HAMILTON

A homeless woman has been found guilty of strangling and beating a man to death in Astoria Park.

According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Kelly Harnett, 32, and her boyfriend Thomas Donovan, 34, were arrested on July 7, 2010, in connection with the murder of Ruben Angel Vargas, who police found strangled and beaten around 4 a.m. that morning. Donovan, who pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence.

Following her arrest, Harnett had been ordered without bail, and has since been convicted of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after a jury trial presided by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak. Harnett’s last known address was on Shore Boulevard in Astoria, said the district attorney.

“This was a senseless crime in which an innocent victim was robbed of his life,” said Brown. “Justice will only be served – and society protected – when the defendant, like her co-defendant, is given a length prison sentence to punish her for such a wanton act of violence.”

According to trial testimony, Vargas, 32, was in Astoria Park when Harnett repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso while Donovan choked him, said Brown. Afterward, Harnett handed a shoelace to Donovan, who used it to further strangle and kill Vargas before fleeing the scene. The couple was arrested shortly afterwards. Donovan, whose last known address was in Manhattan, pleaded guilty on August 2, 2010.

Harnett’s sentencing is scheduled for November 20. If convicted she faces up to 25 years to life in prison

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Elmhurst dad pleads guilty to violently shaking baby daughter


| mchan@queenscourier.com

An Elmhurst father, whose infant daughter remains on life support after he violently shook, her has pleaded guilty to felony assault and will be sentenced to 14 years in prison, the district attorney said.

Israel Garcia, 28, pleaded guilty in Queens Supreme Court on November 19 to first-degree assault and admitted to violently shaking his then two-month old daughter last May to stop her from crying, District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

Maria Gordillo — Garcia’s biological daughter — suffered permanent life-threatening injuries, Brown said, including bleeding in the brain and left eye, multiple rib fractures and various bruises on her left foot and back.

The injuries were determined to be consistent with non-accidental inflicted abusive head trauma, including shaken baby syndrome, according to a criminal complaint.

“Shaken baby syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year,” Brown said. “Its victims are innocent and helpless children, often injured by those charged to protect them.”

Garcia said he was tired and frustrated from work on May 28, when he came home and heard his daughter crying. He admitted to forcefully grabbing and squeezing her around the torso and repeatedly moving her up and down for about three minutes until she stopped crying and appeared to be asleep, a criminal complaint said.

The Queens dad then confessed he saw the baby’s head moving back and forth before she stopped breathing and went limp, the district attorney said.

Justice Elisa Koenderman indicated she would condemn Garcia — who has agreed to make an educational video on shaken baby syndrome — to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 10, Brown said.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 66. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Wednesday night: Overcast. Low of 55. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the North after midnight. Chance of rain 20%.

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