Georgia Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatal Shooting Outside Brooklyn Funeral

Thursday, November 29, 2018


Georgia Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for
Fatal Shooting Outside Brooklyn Funeral

Two People Were Killed and Four Others, Including the Defendant, Were Injured in Shootout

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 43-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison following his conviction on two counts of murder stemming from a shooting outside of an East Flatbush church where a funeral was being held.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is outrageous that a gunfight erupted as mourners were paying their respects to a lost loved one. Two lives were lost, and several other people were injured after the defendant and others fired upon a group of people attending a funeral. With today’s sentence, the defendant has been held accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Fritz Celestine, 43, of Marietta, Georgia. He was sentenced yesterday to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser. The defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on October 11, 2018, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to testimony, on April 27, 2015, at approximately 8:30 p.m., outside the Emmanuel Church of God located at 1365 Flatbush Avenue, the defendant got into an altercation with Sharieff Clayton, who hit the defendant. Celestine and co-defendant Pierre Celestine and another individual who has not been apprehended, pulled out guns and started shooting, according to trial testimony. One person fired back. Clayton and another man, Ronald Murphy, were both shot and killed. Four others were injured by gunfire, including the defendant and three bystanders.

Pierre Celestine is awaiting trial.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Visotzky, of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.