Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and New York AG Eric Schneiderman Call for ICE to End Immigration Enforcement Raids in State Courts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 3, 2017

 

Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez and New York AG Eric Schneiderman Call for ICE to End Immigration Enforcement Raids in State Courts

Raids in NY Courthouses, including Family and Community Courts, Spiked this Year;
Victims and Witnesses being Targeted are Increasingly Fearful of Cooperating with Prosecutors

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today called for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop conducting raids in New York courthouses and to recalibrate their priorities so crime victims and witnesses are not targeted for removal proceedings. Instances of arrests and attempted arrests by ICE in courts have spiked approximately five-fold this year compared to 2016, according to service providers, and a growing number of victims have expressed reluctance to move forward with criminal prosecutions due to fear of being deported, according to the Brooklyn DA’s Office. These reports are consistent with findings detailed in a national report issued by the New York Attorney General’s office in March. Together, the reports provide overwhelming evidence that the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have undermined public safety and must end.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The federal authorities claim they are making America safe again, but the truth is that their immigration enforcement policies are making all of us less safe. We encounter more and more victims and eyewitnesses to crime who are fearful of moving forward because of immigration status, and we see arrests by ICE spiking in our courthouses, including Family Court and courts dedicated to helping human trafficking victims and those with mental health issues. We must not allow a large number of our residents to live in the shadows and stop cooperating with law enforcement – but the Trump Administration is now creating this dangerous reality. ICE should treat courthouses as sensitive locations, like it does schools and houses of worship, to allow everyone free access to our justice system and stop the chilling effect felt by victims and witnesses.”

Attorney General Schneiderman said, “Targeting immigrants at our courthouses undermines our criminal justice system and threatens public safety. If the Trump Administration continues to arrest people in the heart of our justice system, immigrants will be less likely to serve as witnesses or report crimes – and that leaves us all at risk. I join District Attorney Gonzalez in calling for ICE to stop immigration raids in our courthouses. Everyone, regardless of their immigration status or the status of their loved ones, should have access to equal justice under the law.”

Steven Choi, the New York Immigration Coalition’s Executive Director, said, “The federal government continues to perpetuate a false narrative that immigrants are criminals. This does not make us safer – in fact, it instills fear in a community that is now too afraid to come forward with crucial, case-saving information. This is an issue of public safety and I am proud to stand with Acting DA Gonzalez and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to demand the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop making senseless arrests in New York courthouses. This is our New York: one that does not terrorize immigrants at the expense of due process and our democratic principles.”

Mizue Aizeki, the Immigrant Defense Project’s Acting Executive Director, said, “Since January, ICE’s campaign to terrorize our immigrant communities has extended into New York State’s courthouses. Today, we applaud Brooklyn’s Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for calling on ICE to end this terrible practice. ICE’s continued presence in our courthouses is having a horribly destructive impact on public safety and access to justice for all New Yorkers and must stop.”

Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Practice at The Legal Aid Society, said, “We applaud New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to immediately stop courthouse raids. ICE’s presence in local courts undermines the essential functions of our criminal justice system and deters New Yorkers from seeking vital court protections and services. We hope New York City’s other District Attorneys join with us in our continued efforts to keep ICE from raiding courthouses.”

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families, said, “When victims and witnesses are afraid to come forward, the very purpose of our judicial system is compromised. ICE’s continuing presence in New York’s courthouses poses a serious deterrent to immigrants who seek justice, including trafficking and domestic violence victims served by Sanctuary for Families and other providers. With the prospect of detainment and deportation looming, victims will be unprotected, witnesses will be silent and violators will go free.”
A recent survey by the Immigrant Defense Project has found that there were approximately 60 arrests and attempted arrests in New York State courts so far this year, with at least eight arrests in Brooklyn. Only 11 arrests were reported statewide in 2016 and 14 in 2015. ICE operations have expanded and the agency is arresting individuals in Family Court, Human Trafficking Intervention Court and Mental Health Treatment Court. Those arrested included lawful residents (Green Card holders), a domestic violence victim and people who appeared on low-level misdemeanors.

While ICE has designated certain locations such as schools, medical facilities and places of worship as “sensitive locations,” where it does not carry out enforcement actions, it has so far refused to designate courthouses as sensitive locations. The result is that a large segment of New Yorkers are now discouraged from appearing in state courts, including in housing disputes, to obtain orders of protection or to settle important matters such as child custody.

In addition, legal professionals, social workers and service providers have reported an increase in victims and witnesses who express reluctance to cooperate with state authorities out of fear of being targeted by ICE. For example, an elderly victim in Brooklyn who was allegedly assaulted by her son is reluctant to move forward with the case because the defendant is a Green Card holder and the complainant does not want to risk seeing him deported. This trend means that crimes will go unreported and criminals may not be held accountable and remain free to victimize others, placing all of us at risk and making us less safe.

AG Schneiderman has been leading the effort to protect New Yorkers from the overreach and backsliding of the Trump administration. He was the first legal officer in the country to offer a legal roadmap for localities to become sanctuary jurisdictions while complying with federal law, and has sued the administration for constitutional violations related to its immigration policies.

Acting DA Gonzalez has been a leader in prosecutors’ work to protect immigrants, creating a policy this spring to offer non-citizens plea offers that avoid collateral immigration consequences, hiring two immigration attorneys to advise his staff and holding monthly Immigration Forums to educate community members about common scams and how to avoid them. On August 8, 2017 The Brooklyn DA’s Office will hold a symposium for legal professionals on the intersection of criminal law and immigration law.

The Acting District Attorney and the Attorney General thanked the New York Immigration Coalition, the Immigrant Defense Project, the Legal Aid Society, Safe Horizon and Sanctuary for Families for their work and advocacy on immigration issues.

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Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder for Fatal Shooting of East Williamsburg Metal Worker during Crime Spree

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Convicted of Murder for Fatal Shooting of East Williamsburg Metal Worker during Crime Spree

Victim Shot in the Chest after Confronting Defendant, Who was Breaking into Cars

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 22-year-old man has been convicted of murder, attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon for the 2015 fatal shooting of Michael Matusiak, a 53-year-old worker at a sheet metal shop in East Williamsburg.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Michael Matusiak was a beloved father who was senselessly shot to death after standing up to this defendant, who was breaking into cars. Mr. Matusiak should be alive today but for the brazen and callous actions of this defendant, who also shot two other people that morning including an innocent 13-year-old girl. He has now been held accountable.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Bryan Aponte, 22, of Bushwick, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree assault, and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, following a jury trial presided over by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog. Sentencing was set for August 30, 2017, at which time the defendant faces up to 57 years to life in prison

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 6, 2015, at approximately 7:50 a.m., the defendant was spotted breaking into and ransacking cars at the corner of Grattan Street and Knickerbocker Avenue in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was confronted by Michael Matusiak, 53, and another man, 57, both workers at the nearby ABNY sheet metal shop.

After Matusiak shouted at the defendant, he turned around and fired, striking Matusiak in the chest and buttock. The 57-year-old man was shot in the torso and in the ear. A 13-year-old girl was shot in the hip by a stray bullet as she walked to school. Matusiak died at the scene. The other victims were treated at Elmhurst Hospital and released.

The defendant was arrested three weeks later in East New York, Brooklyn, at his grandparents’ home after they called police to say he wanted to surrender.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Howard Jackson, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Chow Xie, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau Grey Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Two East New York Men Indicted For Sex Trafficking of Philadelphia Teen

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

 

Two East New York Men Indicted For Sex Trafficking of Philadelphia Teen

Defendants Also Charged with Promoting Prostitution of Eight Others,
Most of whom Were Minors From Out of State

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that two East New York men have been variously charged in a 39-count indictment with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, rape, and other charges for allegedly sex trafficking an 18-year-old girl and promoting the prostitution of eight others, ranging in age from 15 to 21 years old.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly preyed on vulnerable young women, luring them to New York City to work as prostitutes – and in several cases drugging and using physical violence against those who refused. I intend to hold them fully accountable for these despicable acts.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Jonathan Harris, a.k.a., Jayo, 25, of East New York, Brooklyn, and Tariq Washington, a.k.a., Ricky, 23, also of East New York. Washington was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte and ordered held on $250,000 bail. Harris was arraigned on Friday, July 21, 2017 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Michael Brennan and ordered held on $250,000 bail. The indictment variously charges them with sex trafficking, second-, third- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution, first-degree rape, second-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and related charges. They each face up to 25 years in prison, and would have to register as sex offenders, if convicted of the top count.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between March 2015 and December 2016, the defendants prostituted nine young women, the majority of whom were ages 15 and 16, in Brooklyn, after luring most of them to the city from out of state, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Cleveland. The defendants located the women on Backpage.com and it is alleged that they then texted them and invited them to come to New York to be prostituted, sending them bus tickets and then posting their photos on Backpage.com.

It is alleged that the defendants rented several rooms at various motels in Brooklyn and elsewhere, and drove the women to the locations where men paid to have sex with them.

Furthermore, according to the investigation, it is alleged that the defendants gave the girls drugs and physically assaulted them if they refused to work as prostitutes.

The 18-year-old sex trafficking victim had come to Brooklyn with a 17-year-old friend after that girl was allegedly contacted by Washington and lured to Brooklyn. The younger girl left after a few days and returned to Philadelphia. The 18-year-old, who had allegedly been beaten and raped by Harris, escaped and went to the police for help two months later.

The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective David Mills and Detective James Rufle of the Human Trafficking Team, Vice Enforcement Division, under the supervision of Sergeant Faoud Zahirudin, Lieutenant Christopher Sharpe and Captain Thomas Milano, and the overall supervision of Inspector James Klein.

KCDA Digital Forensic Analyst Thomas Woodburn assisted in the investigation.

The Acting District Attorney thanked Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore field offices for their assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Laura Edidin, Unit Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.

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An indictment is merely an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017, Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

July 6, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017,
Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Brooklyn continued to experience major declines in crime during the first half of 2017, outpacing statistics from 2016, which was the safest year since record keeping began. There were double-digit drops in shooting incidents, shooting victims and homicides, as well as decreases in nearly all other crime categories, according to the latest statistics compiled by the New York City Police Department.

The Acting District Attorney said that 50 murders were recorded in Brooklyn so far in 2017. That figure is down 11 murders (18%) compared to this time last year and is on track for the fewest in the borough’s history (there were 128 murders in 2016 and 122 in 2014, the lowest year on record). There were 32 fewer shooting incidents compared to this time last year (a total of 136, down 19.2%) and 48 fewer shooting victims (a total of 155, down 23.7%).

Like in 2016, Brooklyn was the only borough to register declines in all three categories over this time period and the percent decreases outpaced the impressive citywide declines except for homicides, where the citywide drop was 21.6%. [All statistics are as of June 30, 2017, according to CompStat analysis]. It is notable that seven of the 50 murders are reclassified homicides that took place in previous years, meaning the number of murders actually committed during the first half of 2017 in Brooklyn stands at 43 (there were three reclassified homicides in all of 2016).

In addition, the Total Index Crime in Brooklyn (representing the seven major felony crimes) is down 4.5% for the year so far with declines in all categories except for rape (two additional reported incidents or a .9% uptick compared to this time last year).

In the past few years, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has increased its focus on the drivers of crime – individuals responsible for most of the shootings – and has partnered with the NYPD on a number of initiatives to reduce violent crime. Those include the work of the Crime Strategies Unit that keeps track of known gang members and other drivers of violence; long-term investigations by the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, together with the NYPD, to target all criminal activities by gangs and to stop weapons traffickers; creation of the Firearms Prosecution Unit, which operates in the only Expedited Firearms Court in the city with the goal of prosecuting gun possession cases faster and more efficiently in Brooklyn; and other initiatives.

So far in 2017, The Brooklyn DA’s Office established the Public Housing Crime Suppression Unit to help drive down crime in housing developments by using data-driven intelligence and working with resident associations, community members, NYCHA and the NYPD. A Cold Case Unit was also created to investigate unsolved homicides and a DNA expert was hired to assist in this effort and to help in forensic analyses in other cases, including those involving guns and shootings.

Together with the focus on violent crime, the DA’s Office has been implementing numerous criminal justice reforms, including a change in its bail policy under which no bail is requested for nearly all misdemeanors and a new policy to protect non-citizen defendants by considering collateral immigration consequences of convictions with the assistance of two newly-hired immigration attorneys. The Office also previously announced that it will soon launch a program to allow certain drug-dependent defendants to be sent to treatment in lieu of prosecution, an innovative approach that will keep these offenders from ever setting foot in a courtroom and provide them with necessary help.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am very proud that crime has continued to plummet so rapidly in Brooklyn, a trend that shows that the targeted approach employed by the NYPD and my Office in fighting violent crime is working. It is also proof that we can implement criminal justice reforms while still enhancing public safety. We have launched innovative new programs to reduce reliance on bail, to protect immigrants and to divert low-level offenders from incarceration as we continue to drive down violence and improve the quality of life in all parts of Brooklyn.”

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Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017, Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 6, 2017

 

Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017,
Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers

Double-Digit Declines in Murders, Shootings and Shooting Victims;
Decreases in Nearly All Other Crime Categories

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Brooklyn continued to experience major declines in crime during the first half of 2017, outpacing statistics from 2016, which was the safest year since record keeping began. There were double-digit drops in shooting incidents, shooting victims and homicides, as well as decreases in nearly all other crime categories, according to the latest statistics compiled by the New York City Police Department.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am very proud that crime has continued to plummet so rapidly in Brooklyn, a trend that shows that the targeted approach employed by the NYPD and my Office in fighting violent crime is working. It is also proof that we can implement criminal justice reforms while still enhancing public safety. We have launched innovative new programs to reduce reliance on bail, to protect immigrants and to divert low-level offenders from incarceration as we continue to drive down violence and improve the quality of life in all parts of Brooklyn.”

The Acting District Attorney said that 50 murders were recorded in Brooklyn so far in 2017. That figure is down 11 murders (18%) compared to this time last year and is on track for the fewest in the borough’s history (there were 128 murders in 2016 and 122 in 2014, the lowest year on record). There were 32 fewer shooting incidents compared to this time last year (a total of 136, down 19.2%) and 48 fewer shooting victims (a total of 155, down 23.7%).

Like in 2016, Brooklyn was the only borough to register declines in all three categories over this time period and the percent decreases outpaced the impressive citywide declines except for homicides, where the citywide drop was 21.6%. [All statistics are as of June 30, 2017, according to CompStat analysis]. It is notable that seven of the 50 murders are reclassified homicides that took place in previous years, meaning the number of murders actually committed during the first half of 2017 in Brooklyn stands at 43 (there were three reclassified homicides in all of 2016).

In addition, the Total Index Crime in Brooklyn (representing the seven major felony crimes) is down 4.5% for the year so far with declines in all categories except for rape (two additional reported incidents or a .9% uptick compared to this time last year).

In the past few years, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has increased its focus on the drivers of crime – individuals responsible for most of the shootings – and has partnered with the NYPD on a number of initiatives to reduce violent crime. Those include the work of the Crime Strategies Unit that keeps track of known gang members and other drivers of violence; long-term investigations by the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, together with the NYPD, to target all criminal activities by gangs and to stop weapons traffickers; creation of the Firearms Prosecution Unit, which operates in the only Expedited Firearms Court in the city with the goal of prosecuting gun possession cases faster and more efficiently in Brooklyn; and other initiatives.

So far in 2017, The Brooklyn DA’s Office established the Public Housing Crime Suppression Unit to help drive down crime in housing developments by using data-driven intelligence and working with resident associations, community members, NYCHA and the NYPD. A Cold Case Unit was also created to investigate unsolved homicides and a DNA expert was hired to assist in this effort and to help in forensic analyses in other cases, including those involving guns and shootings.

Together with the focus on violent crime, the DA’s Office has been implementing numerous criminal justice reforms, including a change in its bail policy under which no bail is requested for nearly all misdemeanors and a new policy to protect non-citizen defendants by considering collateral immigration consequences of convictions with the assistance of two newly-hired immigration attorneys. The Office also previously announced that it will soon launch a program to allow certain drug-dependent defendants to be sent to treatment in lieu of prosecution, an innovative approach that will keep these offenders from ever setting foot in a courtroom and provide them with necessary help.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison after Shooting a Man at Close Range during Robbery in Coney Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 30, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison after Shooting a Man at Close Range during Robbery in Coney Island

Defendant Stole Victim’s Gold Chain after Shooting Him

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 22-year-old Brooklyn man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for assault and robbery stemming from a June 2015 attack at a New York City Housing Authority development in Coney Island.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant shot an innocent man, then callously removed a gold chain from his neck after he was wounded. Violent acts like this will not be tolerated in Brooklyn. The defendant will now spend two decades in prison for this senseless crime.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Nyquan English, 22, of Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 22 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his conviction earlier this month on one count of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree robbery after a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on June 25, 2015, at approximately 3:00 p.m. inside of the NYCHA’s Coney Island Houses at 3028 West 29th Street, the defendant demanded a gold chain – with a religious pendant of a woman holding a sword – from a resident of the building. When the victim, a 39-year-old man, refused, the defendant physically struggled with him and eventually fired a small black revolver at close range striking him in the torso. After shooting him, the defendant removed the gold chain from the victim and left the scene.

The victim was taken to New York University’s Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.

On September 15, 2015, the defendant was arrested after being spotted by officers from the Brooklyn North Gang Unit patrolling in an unmarked police car on Lincoln Place and Troy Avenue in East New York. The officers saw the defendant drop a black object to the ground, and then change directions after spotting the unmarked police car. The arresting officers recovered a small black revolver from the spot where the defendant dropped the object.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brian Wagner, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Jaffe, of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau Green Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Klestzick, Bureau Chief.

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Staten Island Man Sentenced to Three to Nine Years in Prison For Causing Fatal Car Crash while Driving while Intoxicated

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 29, 2017

 

Staten Island Man Sentenced to Three to Nine Years in Prison
For Causing Fatal Car Crash while Driving while Intoxicated

Defendant Was Speeding and Drove into Guardrail, Flipping Car and Ejecting Passenger

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Staten Island man has been sentenced to three to nine years in prison for causing a fatal car crash while driving while intoxicated. The defendant was speeding on the Belt Parkway, hit the guardrail and caused the car to flip, ejecting and killing a female passenger.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “What started as a night out with friends ended tragically, costing one woman her life. Three other passengers were lucky to survive. The defendant made a terrible decision when he got behind the wheel while drunk. He has now been held accountable for his actions.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Joseph Auteri, 21, of Lamont Avenue in Staten Island. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice James Sullivan to three to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter in May.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on November 8, 2015, at approximately 6:30 a.m., the defendant was driving a car carrying four passengers on the eastbound side of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. The defendant was speeding in the left lane and then began to cross multiple lanes of traffic in an attempt to reach the exit at 65th Street and Fourth Avenue. As the car approached the exit, it struck the road’s guardrail, flipping over and ejecting a female passenger from the front seat.

The defendant and all passengers in the car were taken to Lutheran Hospital, where the victim was pronounced dead. The defendant had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath and his blood alcohol level, at .11, was over the legal limit.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Natalie Riether of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau Blue Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Chief.

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Brooklyn Woman and the Hitman She Hired to Murder her Husband Both Sentenced to Life in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 29, 2017

 

Brooklyn Woman and the Hitman She Hired to Murder her Husband
Both Sentenced to Life in Prison

Wife Tried to Cash Out Life Insurance Policy Days after Killing

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a woman and man from Brownsville, Brooklyn were sentenced to life in prison for their convictions in connection with a murder-for-hire plot in which the hitman was paid to kill the woman’s husband. The wife, who hired the co-conspirator after two previous failed assassination attempts on her husband’s life, tried to cash out life insurance policies under her dead husband’s name days later.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “With their premeditated and callous actions, these two defendants forfeited their right to remain part of our society. They planned and carried out the heinous and cruel execution of an innocent man for nothing more than pure greed.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Alisha Noel-Murray and Kirk Portious, both 29, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. Each of the defendants was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog to a life sentence without the possibility of parole following their convictions earlier this month to first-degree murder after a jury trial.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on February 24, 2013, at about 12:58 p.m., Omar Murray, 37, was shot three times and died inside his home, located at 204 Lott Avenue in Brownsville. The investigation led police to Damien Lovell, Noel-Murray’s boyfriend, who told investigators that his girlfriend had asked him to find someone to kill her husband after her attempt to poison him had failed. The first person shot at the victim on February 6, 2013, but missed, according to testimony.

Lovell then hired Portious and provided him with a $500 down payment and the gun, which he received from Noel-Murray, the evidence showed. The gunman was promised a total of $3,500. Noel-Murray had taken out nearly $900,000 in life insurance on her husband before the murder and attempted to cash out the policies within days of his death.

Lovell had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for a promised sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant Distant Attorney Ebonie Legrand, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Homicide Bureau Chief.

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Brooklyn Man Sentenced to up to 20 Years in State Prison For 1998 Rape in Park Slope Subway Station

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 2, 2017

 

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to up to 20 Years in State Prison
For 1998 Rape in Park Slope Subway Station

DNA Cold Case Hit Led to Arrest and Prosecution

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 45-year-old Brooklyn man has been convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman on a subway platform in 1998. The defendant was charged with the rape as a result of a “cold hit” in which a DNA sample obtained from the victim’s rape kit was positively matched to the defendant’s DNA profile in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “What began as an exciting day headed to a new job turned into an absolute nightmare for this young woman who crossed paths with this violent predator. Thankfully, the DNA recovered that day was used to hold the defendant accountable for this horrific act and bring justice to his victim, who bravely testified against him at trial.”

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Johnny Jacob, 45, of Brooklyn. He was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 10 to 20 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo, following his conviction on charges of first-degree rape after a jury trial.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 2, 1998, at approximately 9:30 a.m., the victim, who was 19 at the time and going to her first day of work, had just exited the M train at the 9th Street and Fourth Avenue stop. She was approached by the defendant, who ordered her to the back of the platform, while threatening to shoot her and placing what she believed to be a gun to her back. He forcibly raped her, then brought her outside of the train station and told her that he would kill her if she called the police.

The defendant, who was not known to the victim, then fled the scene. The victim ran to work, and her employer called 911 to report the rape. She was treated at Lutheran Hospital, where a rape kit was administered.

The defendant was arrested on October 4, 2013, after there was a DNA hit connecting the defendant to the semen found in the complainant’s rape kit. His DNA had been entered into the CODIS database following a conviction on federal money laundering charges.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lisa Nugent and Assistant District Attorney Tamara Marshall, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief.

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Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent, Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

May 24, 2017

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Building Superintendent Charged with Posing as Management Agent,
Stealing Over $18,000 from Eight People Seeking Apartments

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Cypress Hills man has been charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud for posing as an employee of his building’s management company and stealing over $18,000 from eight people, fraudulently collecting deposits and fees for vacant apartments which he had no authority to rent.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, the defendant, Ruben Almeidas, 58, a superintendent for a building located at 233 Jamaica Avenue in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, showed vacant apartments in that building to would-be tenants, from approximately April 1, 2016, to October 30, 2016. The defendant allegedly indicated that he worked for the management company that owned the building and that he could accept deposits for the apartments.

According to the investigation, after showing a vacant apartment, the defendant would collect a deposit and “finder’s fee” from a prospective tenant, even issuing receipts. The would-be tenants, however, found it impossible to move into the building, with the defendant offering a litany of excuses and reasons that the tenant could not yet move. While the tenants were unable to move in to the apartments they had paid for, the defendant is charged with keeping the fees he had already collected.

The defendant allegedly stole a total of $18,500 from eight prospective tenants, in amounts ranging from $1,850 to $3,600.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s alleged theft and deception in this case is particularly reprehensible in light of the many challenges renters already face as they look for affordable housing in this city. We will continue to work to ensure that there is no room in Brooklyn for schemes such as this.”

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An indictment is only an accusatory instrument and is not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

 

Read the full press release here.