Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 23 Years to Life in Prison for Killing Beloved Homeless Man, Known as Helpful Protector of Grand Avenue

Monday, March 7, 2016


Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 23 Years to Life in Prison for Killing
Beloved Homeless Man, Known as Helpful Protector of Grand Avenue

Victim Shot in Early Morning Hours after Asking Defendant to Quiet Down

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 20-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for the murder of Gilbert Kelley, a 57-year-old homeless man who was shot dead in Clinton Hill last year following a brief verbal dispute.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This sentence represents justice for Gilbert Kelley, who was a fixture of the Clinton Hill community and died protecting Grand Avenue, the block he loved. He was senselessly shot dead by this defendant, who now deserves to spend many years behind bars for killing such a generous and beloved man.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Victorious Kingsberry, 20, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 23 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog, following his conviction in November on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 15, 2014, at approximately 4 a.m., the defendant, who was 18 years old, and five of his friends were on the way home from a party when they exited the subway near Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. The group then turned onto Grand Avenue and started to walk towards Lafayette Gardens, a few blocks away.

As they walked up Grand Avenue, according to trial testimony, they encountered Gilbert Kelley, 57, a local homeless man who often swept the sidewalks of Grand Avenue and helped the homeowners on that block by doing odd jobs such as carrying groceries, raking leaves and shoveling snow. Kelley was pushing his shopping cart at the time and told the defendant and his friends to be quiet because the neighbors were sleeping. The defendant and his friends then got into a dispute with Kelley and started to approach the victim, who pulled out a kitchen knife. The defendant and his friends then crossed to the opposite side of the street, and the defendant then pulled out a .380 caliber handgun and fired, striking the victim in the chest, and ran off.

The case was investigated by Detective Andre Parker of the New York City Police Department’s 88th Precinct Detective Squad and Detective Evan Smelley of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Blue Trial Zone, and Assistant District Attorney Elyse Kleinberg, of the Blue Trial Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Taub, Homicide Bureau Chief.