Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting Employee Inside East New York Bodega

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Fatally Shooting
Employee Inside East New York Bodega

Defendant Returned to Store Two Hours After Argument and Fired More than a Dozen Times, Narrowly Missing Two Employees and a Customer

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for fatally shooting an innocent 80-year-old bodega employee at point-blank range and firing at three other people, following an argument with the East New York store’s employees over the price of a beer.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “An innocent 80-year-old man lost his life in this senseless and violent attack. The defendant showed an inexplicable and utter disregard for human life and has now been held accountable. I hope that today’s sentence brings a measure of solace to the victim’s family and others who narrowly escaped harm that day.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mark Thomas, 43, of East New York, Brooklyn. The defendant, who was deemed a mandatory persistent violent felon, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford. He was convicted of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree attempted murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment on August 1, 2019, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on December 12, 2017, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the defendant tried to purchase a beer from an employee of a bodega located at 797 Stanley Avenue, offering $1.50 for a beer that cost $2.00. The defendant began to argue with the store’s employees and proceeded to curse at them, using racial epithets. After the employees got the defendant to leave the store, he threatened to come back and kill them.

About two hours later, at approximately 6:25 p.m., the defendant walked into the store and fatally shot Abdullah Yafaee, 80, in the chest from less than five feet away. While the victim lay wounded on the floor of the store, the defendant turned to two other employees behind the counter, firing at them as they ducked for cover. The defendant fired two additional shots at a customer who fled to the rear of the store. After leaving the bodega, the defendant fired at least nine additional shots into the store.

Following the shooting, the defendant walked south on Ashford Street and fled the scene in a white 2008 GMC Suburban. The defendant was arrested December 13, 2017 after detectives found his vehicle while canvassing the neighborhood. Detectives recovered the hat, boots and gloves the defendant was seen wearing in the bodega’s surveillance video. Four employees who witnessed the shooting identified the defendant during line-up procedures.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Jamie Begley of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Sean Hughes of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.