Tag Archives: rikers island

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’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: JAMS Under the Stars

JAMS Under the Stars is an evening outdoor concert that kicks off the next day of festivities for the Jamaica Arts and Music Summer (JAMS) Festival. This year, JAMS Under the Stars will pay homage to the legacy of Soul Train and the musical legends of Jazz, R&B, Rock and Funk.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Residents say livery cabs block their driveways

Parking is a daily struggle for Queens homeowner Renee Graham, even though she has her own driveway. “I come home, I can’t even pull in my driveway,” she says. “The driveway’s being blocked. I have to back into my neighbor’s driveway some in order just to get in. Read more: [NY1]

Ice cream truck ‘turf wars’ hit sour note

Jackson Heights residents aren’t sweet on playground-invading ice cream trucks or their late-night rounds. Increasingly aggressive vendors are encroaching on play places and blasting jingles deep into the night, residents said. But the drivers say that unpermitted push-cart vendors are eating into their sales, prompting them to adopt hard-sell tactics to make ends meet. Read more: [NY Daily News]

Queens residents continue to clean out flooded homes

Some residents in Queens spent Thursday trying to dry out from damage from the previous day’s powerful rains. Flushing Meadows residents who live along Utopia Parkway between 65th and 69th Avenues were hit especially hard. Read More: [NY 1]

Goldman to invest in Rikers program

New York City officials said Thursday that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has agreed to invest nearly $10 million in an antirecidivism program for adolescents at Rikers Island—an experiment in social-services financing that the city hopes to expand into areas such as homelessness prevention and health care. Read more: [Wall Street Journal]

Hospital rejects donated body as too fat for science

George Cardel’s final wish died with him — doomed by his hefty 300-pound frame. The Queens mechanical engineer had hoped to donate his body to science, but that dream was dashed when a medical school rejected his corpse because of its girth, a $2 million lawsuit claims. Read more: [NY Daily News]

DNA clears man of rape charges


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A Queens man locked up for nine months on charges of attempted rape and sex abuse has been exonerated after DNA retrieved from the victim’s sweater did not match up to his, a defense attorney said.

Kenneth King, 41, was arrested last September for the attempted rape and sex abuse of a woman who was thrown over a guardrail along the Cross Island Parkway near 148th Street in Whitestone.

The early morning attack was foiled by former Marine Bryan Teichman, 31, who sprinted over to the struggle and scared off a man who was on top of the victim with his hand over her mouth. Teichman said the suspect was pushing her head into the dirt while tearing at her clothes.

King spent almost one year behind bars at Rikers Island for the crime after an eyewitness identified him in a photo lineup. But the case was strewn with deficiencies, said King’s lawyer Scott Dufault.

The perpetrator was described in police reports in March as having blue eyes and light hair with salt and pepper streaks on the top of his head and in his beard, Dufault said. But King, he said, has hazel eyes and dark brown hair.

Dufault said the eyewitness who identified King in the lineup also kept choosing another individual out of six possible suspects.

“That wasn’t too impressive as an identification,” Dufault said, adding that the victim never identified King herself.

The case against King was dismissed on July 10 after DNA test results cleared him of the crime, Dufault said.

King was released soon after, but Dufault said the wrongly accused suspect is struggling to get back to his former life after losing his job as a plumber’s assistant, a position he held for 13 years.

His grandmother also entered a nursing home during the nine months he was gone.

“That was difficult,” Dufault said. “He was her primary caregiver.”

Police said the investigation to find the perp responsible is ongoing.

The Queens District Attorney’s office said the case was sealed and did not disclose further information.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Irish Music Concert in Sergeant Collins Park 

Visit Sergeant Collins Park for a concert of Spirited Irish Music with a Global Twist. Admission free, all welcome. Jigs, reels and more. Catch the Celtic Spirit! Fiddle-guitar duo Cady Finlayson & Vita Tanga with Tim Alworth on percussion.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

State DOE slams Jamaica HS in report 

The New York State Department of Education is out with a scathing report on Jamaica High School. The report says two special education teachers are uncertified, there are no honors or SAT prep courses, and science and math classes have been cut. Read more: [NY1] 

Refurbished Forest Park Carousel enjoys a summer rebirth as crowds rediscover ‘jewel’  

The historic Forest Park Carousel, reopened after years of being shuttered, is rebuilding its audience this summer. It has hosted almost 15,000 rides since Memorial Day and long-time residents are rediscovering it every day. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Veteran sushi chef Taka Terashita sets up shop in the Rockaways

Taka Terashita rolls with the punches. When the chef lost his job in March, Terashita decided to take his sushi skills to the newest food frontier, Rockaway Beach. Surf Sushi in the Beach 96th St. concession area was the first location for Rockapulco Eats, a Daily News summer series that analyzes the deluge of finer food that has taken the boardwalk by storm. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City Correction Department to battle Rikers Island violence with body scanners 

The latest in high-tech body scanners are not for passengers boarding an airplane. But for inmates locked up on Rikers Island and in other city correctional facilities– Prisoners who may try to sneak a blade or other weapons past correction officers. Read more: [NY1] 

Bad call by ex-pol 

In a move that was amazingly foolish and incredibly brazen, a former Queens lawmaker now under indictment on federal bribery charges called an FBI informant at the center of his corruption case — only minutes after he was released on $1 million bail — in a possible attempt to obstruct justice, stunned officials said yesterday. Read more: [New York Post] 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mets Owners Sell Team Shares Following $162M Settlement With Madoff Victims’ Trustee

Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz last week sold 12 minority stakes in the troubled franchise worth $240 million, using the proceeds to pay off Major League Baseball and reduce the team’s crippling debt, The Post has learned. With the moves, the team now has breathing room with its lenders and — combined with yesterday’s Picard settlement — appears to have saved the franchise. Read More: NY1

 

Mets owners could actually make money in Madoff settlement

It’s the biggest win for the Mets since 1986 — but a huge letdown for the fans. The team’s stingy owners will remain at the helm after striking a sweetheart settlement with the lawyer tasked with recouping billions from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme — and the deal actually casts them as victims of the fraud. The deal heads off a risky jury trial, where a loss could have cost owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz up to $383 million and control of the franchise. Read More: New York Post

 

Rangers edge Devils, clinch playoff spot in East

Brandon Dubinsky scored shortly after a fight-filled opening faceoff, and the Rangers became the first Eastern Conference team to earn a playoff spot by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Monday night. Three fights broke out at the outset and that seemed to jump-start the Rangers, who had lost two straight and five of seven as their once commanding lead in the East dwindled to almost nothing. Read More: New York Post

 

Trayvon Martin shooting: Feds to investigate killing of unarmed black teen by Florida neighborhood watch captain

The growing national attention – and outcry – over the case of an unarmed black teen in Florida who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch captain has culminated with the federal government’s announcement that it will launch an investigation. The announcement late Monday by the Justice Department followed a day of protests calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, 28, who claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month in self-defense during a confrontation in a gated community. Read More: Daily News

 

Cops nab burglary suspect — but hunt for ‘Vaseline Bandit’ continues

Police who were already hunting for a burglar who has brazenly pulled off 14 apartment break-ins in Upper Manhattan — using Vaseline to block door peepholes — captured another apartment thief re-handed, casually watching TV, in the middle of a heist tonight. But law enforcement sources said the 20-something perp is not the so-called Vaseline Bandit, who is in his 50s. Read More: New York Post

 

Government may make it easier for airlines to allow passengers to use personal electronic devices during takeoffs and landings

The government is taking a tentative step toward making it easier for airlines to allow passengers to use personal electronic devices such as tablets, e-readers and music players during takeoffs and landings. The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is “exploring ways to bring together all of the key stakeholders involved” – including airlines, aircraft manufacturers, consumer electronics makers, and flight attendant unions – to discuss whether there are practical ways to test devices to see if they are safe for passengers to use during critical phases of flight. Read More: Daily News

 

Peyton Manning finalizing contract with Broncos

All that’s needed is Peyton Manning’s autograph. After being pursued by teams around the NFL, the QB with four MVP awards is headed to the land of John Elway and Tim Tebow, agreeing to a contract with Denver that could make the Broncos an instant Super Bowl contender. It could also send one of the NFL’s most intriguing young players packing. So much for Tebowmania. Manning called Elway on Monday morning and told the Broncos executive that he had chosen Denver over the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers in the wildest free-agent chase of the offseason. Read More: Yahoo Sports

 

3 wounded in Harlem shooting

A gunman shot three men across from a Harlem playground this afternoon, police said. The unknown assailant blasted his victims in front of a deli across from the St. Nicholas Playground on West 129th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue about 2:30 p.m., cops said. A 30-year-old man was wounded in the left hand and leg, a 25-year-old was shot in the left leg, and a 23-year-old was wounded in the butt, authorities said. Read More: New York Post

 

NYPD Ups Security In Wake Of Jewish School Shooting In France

The NYPD yesterday deployed hundreds of cops to synagogues and Jewish neighborhoods citywide after a gunman fatally shot three kids and a rabbi at a Jewish school in France. “Obviously, we’re concerned about what happened in Toulouse,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said of the shooting. Read More: NY1

 

Jail guard shot

An off-duty Rikers correction officer was shot by her boyfriend last night outside a Queens diner, police sources said. The woman was hit in the stomach near the USA Diner on Merrick Boulevard in Laurelton at 10:50 p.m., cops said. The shooter fled. It wasn’t immediately clear what sparked the fight. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Gangster’ sought in groom slay

They picked the wrong guy to push around. The Staten Island restaurant worker reportedly thrown to the ground by groom-to-be Anthony Lacertosa and his boozing buddies was purported Albanian gangster Redinel Dervishaj, who then allegedly killed Lacertosa with a butcher knife. Investigators believe Dervishaj, 35, has since fled the city, a law-enforcement source said. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Mad Men’ star Jon Hamm sticks to his guns in calling Kim Kardashian an ‘idiot’

Square-jawed “Mad Men” actor Jon Hamm is sick of your stupid shtick. Channeling his straight-shooting character Don Draper,  Hamm put Kim Kardashian in her place Monday, dissing the curvaceous celebutard yet again. NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer asked the AMC retro-series actor to clarify the earlier comments he made to Elle UK about Kardashian being a famous-for-being-famous “idiot,” which the reality starlet called “careless.” Read More: Daily News

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire

The Conduit Motor Inn on 138th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens caught fire Monday night, and an injured man found inside one of the hotel rooms was taken to Jamaica Hospital with burns throughout his body. Read More: NY1

 

Maksim Gelman to get extra 25 years for Manhattan portion of killing spree

A Manhattan judge today promised to tack on an additional 25 years to the certain life sentence that Maksim “Butcher of Brighton Beach” Gelman faces in Brooklyn when sentenced tomorrow for admittedly slaughtering four people back in February. Gelman had pleaded guilty last month to the Brooklyn end of his blood-drenched, 28-hour spree, admitting he’d stabbed his mother’s boyfriend to death, stolen that victim’s car and fatally mowed down a pedestrian, then stabbed to death the object of his affections, beautiful Yelena Bulchenko, and her mother. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Rapper Joins Growing Chorus For Awareness About Redistricting

A Queens rapper is adding his music and his voice to the growing chorus against a hot-button political issue. Himanshu Suri of the hip-hop group Das Racist performed Monday night at a fundraiser in Richmond Hill to help out SEVA, a community organization that is raising awareness about the potential consequences of gerrymandering, the redrawing of local political districts to benefit incumbents. Read More: NY1

 

Man dead, another arrested in LI police shootout

A man is dead and another in custody after following a shootout last night with a Nassau County cop, police said today. The body of the dead suspect was found inside the Valley Stream home following a botched home invasion attempt, Nassau County police homicide chief Det. Lt. John Azatta said. The events unfolded when at least two men attempted a home invasion at about 9:15 a.m., police said.  The homeowner drove up and noticed a man in the bushes with a gun. That’s when he tried honking his horn to scare him off, police said.  When that didn’t work, the man called his brother and told him, “There is a problem here,” according to Azatta. Read More: New York Post

 

Mother of Rikers inmate killed in ’08 fight club lashes out at guards

The mom of a Rikers inmate who was killed in connection to a sick fight club run by guards, lashed out today two disgraced officers and the wrist-slapping deal they cut.  Charnel Robinson, 38, lamented how she’ll never again see her 18-year-old son Christopher Robinson, who was beaten to death in October, 2008 by fellow inmates for refusing to participate in the jailhouse blood sport. “I’m not happy. It’s not a win for me. My son is gone,” Robinson said in Bronx Supreme Court, during the sentencing of two guilty corrections officers.  “At the end of the day, these people are still able to see their families. My only child is a sight I’ll never see again,” Robinson said. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx boy shot through door lives in terror

An 11-year-old Bronx boy who was shot when a bullet ripped through his family’s front door lives in fear of being attacked again. “I don’t like answering doors anymore and I don’t want to go back there,” a traumatized Ryan Aguirre told The Post from a new apartment where he’s staying.  The sixth-grade honors student escaped serious injury when he was shot in the right hip late on the night of Jan. 5. “I was just playing a game and the doorbell rang, so I got up to answer it,” Ryan said. “When I was walking toward the door, I said, ‘Who?’ and they just started shooting. Read More: New York Post

 

Five more bodies found on Italian shipwreck Costa Concordia

The death toll from the crippled Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia rose to 11 after five more bodies were pulled from the shipwreck on Tuesday. The lifeless bodies of four men and one woman, estimated to be in their 50s and 60s, were found below the water line at the ship’s front, rescue officials said.  They were all still wearing lifejackets. Twenty four others, a mix of tourists and crew members, are still believed trapped inside. The latest find comes after Italian marine divers armed with explosives blasted their way into the capsized wreck and began navigating its jumbled, murky interior. Conditions inside the half-sunk Costa Concordia were disastrous, and the frogmen were fighting their way through piles of floating debris in the ships labyrinth of cabins, restaurants, bars, casinos and theaters, rescue officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

Occupy Wall Street in ‘winter hibernation’ as donations dwindle and weather gets icy

Occupy Wall Street has gone into “winter hibernation” as donations have dwindled and the weather has gotten colder. “We’re not broke,” Pete Dutro, a member of the OWS finance committee, said Tuesday. “But donations have not been as plentiful as they were last fall.” Asked about reports that the group had just $170,000 left in its bank account, Dutro chuckled. “There are other accounts,” he said. “In fact I just deposited $100,000 we set aside for bail.” Dutro confirmed an account in the Wall Street Journal that OWS’s main government body voted over the weekend to freeze all new spending. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Italian captain ignored orders to return to ship: audio recordings

The captain of a grounded Italian cruise ship can be heard in a recording making excuses as a coast guard official repeatedly ordered him to “get on board now,” according to a transcript of the conversation released today. In a telephone conversation, the Italian coast guard official berates the captain, who is on a lifeboat and repeatedly says he doesn’t want to return to the ship even as passengers are still being evacuated. Read More & Hear Audio: New York Post

 

Beyoncé says Blue Ivy Carter ‘just like any other kid’ in first interview since giving birth

Beyoncé shares that “words can’t be found” to describe holding her daughter Blue Ivy Carter for the first time. In her first interview since giving birth, the “Countdown” songstress also reveals that she believes her daughter will be “just like any other kid” and that husband Jay-Z will indeed change his daughter’s diapers.  “Nothing can describe the feeling,” Beyoncé tells Star magazine of nurses first handing her Blue Ivy Carter to hold. “You have the instant connection once you know your child is growing inside you, but when you hold it for the first time, the words can’t be found.” Read More: New York Post

 

NYPD developing new device to detect guns carried by criminals

The NYPD is developing a new device that can detect whether a perp is carrying heat without frisking him, Commissioner Ray Kelly announced today. The large mechanism uses infrared rays to scan a “form of radiation emitted from the body” of someone who is concealing a gun on the streets of the Big Apple, Kelly said at the Police Foundation’s State of the NYPD breakfast. Since the infrared rays cannot pass through metal, the device provides officers with a digital outline of exactly where the firearm has been tucked away on the subject’s body, Kelly said. Read More: New York Post

Barbara Sheehan free on bail


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Barbara Sheehan may not be out of the woods, but she is out of prison.

According to published reports, the 50-year-old mother of two was released from Rikers Island on October 24 after a Queens judge reinstated her $1 million bail.

Barbara was in prison awaiting sentencing for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008.

The Howard Beach resident surrendered to authorities on October 12.

As of press time, repeated calls to Barbara and her attorneys regarding her release went unanswered.

Barbara’s defense was centered on the roughly two decades of physical and emotional abuse that she claims she suffered at the hands of her husband, including an argument the day before the slaying which ended with Raymond allegedly breaking his wife’s nose.

She was acquitted of second degree murder for her husband’s death on October 6.

“It’s sad what happened, but I had no choice,” said Barbara, who claims she was trying to escape from her house when her husband confronted her. “He aimed a gun at me. He tried to kill me, and I had to defend myself. I tried to get away, but he wouldn’t allow me to. At the time I thought that if I had a gun maybe he wouldn’t come at me, but that didn’t work.”

Barbara is reportedly due back in court for sentencing on November 10, and she could serve between two- and-a-quarter to 15 years behind bars.

Niall MacGiollabhui, one of Barbara’s attorneys, said an appeal of the conviction is imminent.

“Our opinion is that the jury’s verdict is inconsistent as a matter of law,” said MacGiollabhui. “If you act in self defense, then that is not unlawful. It is lawful to act in self defense, and it is lawful to use a weapon in self defense even if it is not licensed to you because your intention is not to use it unlawfully, but in self defense.”

Barbara Sheehan released from prison


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

According to published reports, the 50-year-old mother of two was released from Rikers Island earlier today, roughly two weeks after she was taken into custody.

Barbara was in prison awaiting sentencing for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008. She surrendered to authorities on October 12.

Barbara’s defense was centered on the roughly two decades of physical and emotional abuse that she claims she suffered at the hands of her husband, including an argument the day before the slaying which ended with Raymond allegedly breaking his wife’s nose. She was acquitted of second degree murder on October 6.

Barbara is reportedly due back in court for sentencing on November 10, and she could serve between two and a quarter to 15 years behind bars. Niall MacGiollabhui, one of Barbara’s

attorneys, says an appeal of the conviction is imminent.

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/25/2011: 8 Officers Charged With Gun Trafficking in U.S. Corruption Case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Egypt to release Queens native

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Queens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Barbara Sheehan released from prison

According to published reports, the 50-year-old mother of two was released from Rikers Island earlier today, roughly two weeks after she was taken into custody. Barbara was in prison awaiting sentencing for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008. Read More: Queens Courier

 

15-year-old held in rape attempts in Queens

A 15-year-old Queens youth has been arrested on charges that he tried to rape two women this month, part of what the authorities say is a pattern of five attacks in the borough’s southeastern section that began in late September. Read More: New York Times

 

 

Queens suspect forcibly grabs woman’s breast in subway station

A suspect is being sought in connection with yet another sex crime in Queens. Police said that last Thursday a suspect approached 22-year-old woman at the Seneca Avenue M Line subway station and grabbed her breast and private area.  The suspect then fled the station for the street. Read More: CBS News

 

 

8 Officers Charged With Gun Trafficking in U.S. Corruption Case

Eight current and former New York Police Department officers were arrested early Tuesday on federal charges including gun trafficking and conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes, according to people briefed on the case. Read More: New York Times