Tag Archives: Queens Supreme Court

Jamaica coach pleads guilty to producing, sharing child porn


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A 43-year-old basketball coach from Jamaica pleaded guilty on Tuesday to taking and sharing pictures of young children involved in sexual acts, prosecutors announced.

Robert Walker, 43, of 164th Street pleaded guilty on Tuesday to first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors before Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, who said she will sentence the defendant to 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in prison. Walker will also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the charges, on April 22, 2014, Walker communicated with a 15-year-old boy via OoVoo, a video chat and instant messaging software. Walker ordered the boy to strip naked, pose during a video link, and send him naked pictures.

An examination of the defendant’s electronic devices also revealed 27 images of children, some as young as 8, performing sexual acts with adult men.

In addition, Walker confessed to conducting workouts with teens under the age of 16, during which he would have them remove their clothes and he would take pictures of them. Three more victims, 14- and 15-year-olds who played on the basketball team Walker coached, were discovered during searches of the defendant’s Facebook and OoVoo accounts. The three had also been manipulated to strip naked and pose during video chats, and on one occasion, in person.

“The defendant has now admitted to taking advantage of his position as a non-affiliated basketball coach to instruct teenage boys to undress and send nude photographs of themselves to him for his sexual gratification,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “The victims will undoubtedly be scarred for life as a result of this man’s manipulative actions.”

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Rockaway pair convicted on murder and kidnapping charges


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Two 29-year-old Queens men have been convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in the brutal April 2012 stabbing death of a man who had begun a relationship with the estranged wife of one of the defendants.

Michael B. Cunningham, 29, of Dickens Street in Far Rockaway, and Damian Husain, also 29, of Beach 64th Street in Arverne, were convicted on July 28 of second-degree murder, second-degree felony murder, first-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Cunningham was additionally convicted of aggravated criminal contempt for violating an order of protection.

Sentencing has been set for Sept. 23. If convicted, both defendants face 25 years to life in prison.

“This was a particularly brutal attack,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “The 27-year-old victim had gashes and puncture wounds all over his body. A jury has spoken and found the two defendants guilty of murder and other charges. A lengthy prison term is more than warranted.”

According to trial testimony, the victim, Albert Robinson, had for six months been in a relationship with a woman who was married to but separated from Cunningham. After Cunningham rammed his car into Robinson’s on Dec. 28, 2011, an order of protection was issued requiring Cunningham to stay away from Robinson. However, Robinson still received a death threat on his cellphone from Cunningham.

On April 4, 2012, the victim left the woman’s house some time after midnight. Video surveillance in the area showed a man exiting the woman’s home and moments later being chased by a person on foot as well as by someone driving a dark-colored car. The men became entangled in a struggle just before moving out of view of the surveillance camera.

Robinson’s body was found some time after 11 a.m. that day off the shoreline of Jamaica Bay. He had been stabbed in multiple places, including his neck and chest, and had multiple punctures in his internal organs, including his lung, diaphragm and an artery. A glove found at the scene tested positive for Robinson’s blood and Husain’s skin cells. Robinson’s blood was also found on the backseat of Cunningham’s car.

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Jamaica man sentenced to 20 years in prison on abduction charges


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A 35-year-old Queens man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for abducting a Harlem woman who died after a brutal beating by the man and his wife in December 2013.

Malik Wilkerson, of 116th Road in Jamaica, pleaded guilty on July 13 to second-degree kidnapping before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter, who sentenced him to 20 years in prison on July 27. His wife, Devonee Wilkerson, pleaded guilty to the same charge on May 21, 2014, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 5, 2014.

According to the charges, the victim, 38-year-old mother of three Sheryl Outerbridge, had been trying to leave an ongoing sexual relationship she had had for years with the Wilkersons. Outerbridge fled the couple’s apartment on the night of Dec. 2, 2013, only to be found the next day on the train station platform at Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue.

The couple forcibly removed her from the train station and took her back to their home, where they attacked her with a paint roller extension and a glass bottle, burned her with a lit cigarette and punched her repeatedly. Outerbridge died of her wounds the following day after being dropped off at a local Queens hospital.

“[Malik Wilkerson] has shown he is not fit for civilized society and will be locked behind bars—to protect the public and to punish him for this brutal crime,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Tuesday, July 28.

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Private investigator, father and son indicted for tampering with witnesses in gun possession case


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A father and a son, along with a private investigator, have been indicted on charges of soliciting, intimidating and tampering with witnesses in a gun possession case in Jamaica.

Frederick Freeman, 27, of Miller Avenue in Brooklyn, along with his father Frederick Hutcherson, 47, of Beach 27th Street in Far Rockaway, and private investigator Charles Gallman, 52, of Metropolitan Avenue in the Bronx, are charged with 13 counts of bribing a witness, third- and fourth-degree tampering with a witness, third-degree intimidating a victim or witness, fourth-degree criminal solicitation and fifth-degree conspiracy. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.

Freeman is currently awaiting trial for weapons possession after a confrontation at the Jamaica, Queens, apartment of his girlfriend’s brother, Rashown Williams, on Jan. 30, 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

According to the charges in the case, Freeman, Hutcherson and Gallman conspired between Feb. 1, 2015, and April 1, 2015, to bribe and intimidate witnesses due to testify at Freeman’s gun case.

The three defendants allegedly attempted to instill the fear in Williams and his family that they might be physically injured if they testified. It is also alleged that the defendants offered to confer benefits on the potential witnesses if they altered their testimony or refused to appear in court.

“Prospective witnesses must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “This office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”

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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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Avonte Oquendo’s mom files suit against city: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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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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