FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 15, 2023
Williamsburg Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
Following Conviction for Violent Assault of Modell’s Employees
Defendant Slashed One Worker in Back and Neck, Sliced Second Man Across Face
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today that a Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for assaulting two Modell’s Sporting Goods employees in Williamsburg after they tried to stop him from shoplifting.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Keeping the people of Brooklyn safe is my highest priority, and violent offenders like this defendant must face serious consequences. Today’s sentence holds him responsible for this vicious assault that injured and traumatized two young men.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as John Whichard, 43, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The defendant was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht to 10 years in prison. The defendant was convicted of first-degree assault and second-degree assault on October 26, 2023, following a jury trial. A co-defendant, Gerald Rowlett, 53, of Williamsburg, was convicted of petit larceny and sentenced to six months jail.
The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on February 12, 2020, at approximately 11:35 a.m., the defendant and Rowlett were inside of a Modell’s Sporting Goods store located at 4 Graham Avenue in Williamsburg when they were approached by a store manager, who attempted to retrieve items the men placed in their bag. Two employees, both 20-year-old men, attempted to intervene and assist the store manager.
The defendant then slashed one employee in his back and the back of his neck and sliced the other employee across his face, according to the evidence. Both victims were treated at Woodhull Hospital. The defendants were arrested following an investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Jennifer DaRin and Assistant District Attorney Kirsten Tamayo, of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Karla Watson, Bureau Chief.