Defendant Who Allegedly Targeted Older Women in Midwood Indicted For Robbery as a Hate Crime and Other Charges

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 22, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Defendant Who Allegedly Targeted Older Women in Midwood
Indicted For Robbery as a Hate Crime and Other Charges

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 27-year-old man has been named in a 20-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree robbery as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly robbing three Russian women in their 60s, who were allegedly targeted because of their age.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on October 12, 2016, the defendant, Akmaljon Abakulov, 27, of Midwood, allegedly pushed a 64-year-old woman against a parked van outside of an ATM on Kings Highway, rummaged through her purse and stole an envelope containing $700. Then on October 24, 2016, on East 14th Street between Avenues O and P, the defendant allegedly grabbed the purse of a 61-year-old woman, pushed her to the ground and ran off with the purse. Most recently, on November 1, 2016, the defendant allegedly stole the wallet of a 61-year-old woman while she was shopping at a T.J Maxx on East 15th Street.

A police officer recovered video from T.J. Maxx that captured the theft. The defendant was arrested the next day when the store manager called police to alert them that the defendant was in the store.

The investigation revealed that the defendant selected older women because he perceived them to be vulnerable to attack.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly targeted older women to rob because he believed they were easy marks. Cowardly attacks such as these will not be tolerated in Brooklyn. We will work vigorously to prosecute all crimes based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity.”

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

Read the full press release here.

 

Man Charged in 2004 Cold Case Murder of 17-Year-Old Bushwick Girl

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Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 17, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Man Charged in 2004 Cold Case Murder
Of 17-Year-Old Bushwick Girl

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 38-year-old man has been indicted for the murder of a teenager from Bushwick in 2004. A DNA analysis of the victim’s fingernails, requested this summer by the New York City Police Department’s Cold Case Squad and the District Attorney’s Forensic Science Unit, was a match to the defendant.

The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Kwauhuru Govan, 38, formerly of Gates Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today on one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree kidnapping and ordered held without bail. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the body of Sharabia Thomas, 17, was discovered on the afternoon of February 11, 2004 inside two laundry bags on the side of an alleyway next to 130 Palmetto Street in Bushwick. The victim suffered blunt force trauma to her head, face and torso and had visible ligature marks on her wrists and ankles. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxia by neck compression.

The investigation determined that Sharabia did not go to school that day and was last seen alive earlier that morning when her siblings left for school. DNA testing in 2004 yielded no results.

In June 2016, the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad and the District Attorney’s Forensic Science Unit requested that fingernail clippings taken from the victim at the time of the autopsy be located and tested for DNA. A DNA profile was sent to the National DNA database and it matched the defendant, whose DNA was in the database following a 2014 arrest for an armed robbery in Polk County, Florida, according to the investigation.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Sharabia bravely fought for her life when she was attacked and the evidence that helped to find her alleged killer was discovered under her fingernails. It is my hope that solving this terrible crime will offer a small measure of comfort to Sharabia’s family, who suffered such an unspeakable loss. I am determined to continue the important work of our Forensic Science Unit to ensure that even if justice is delayed, it is not denied.”

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

 

Read the full press release here.

 

Hit-and-Run Driver Indicted for Recklessly Killing Cyclist in Williamsburg

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Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 15, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Hit-and-Run Driver Indicted for Recklessly
Killing Cyclist in Williamsburg

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 56-year-old Williamsburg man has been indicted on charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and related counts stemming from the July 2016 hit-and-run death of 35-year-old Queens cyclist and advocate Matthew von Ohlen.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in the early morning on July 2, 2016, the defendant, Juan Maldonado, 56, of Williamsburg, was speeding in a black Chevy Camaro near Grand Street and Manhattan Avenue when he allegedly swerved into a bike lane on Grand Street, sped through a red light and struck von Ohlen from behind, knocking him off his bike. According to the investigation, the defendant continued driving, running over the victim and dragging him 10 to 20 feet as he sped away.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A young man who was an active member of Brooklyn’s biking community lost his life because a speeding driver struck him in a designated bike lane and sped away. This was not an accident, but rather a reckless act for which we intend to hold this defendant accountable.”

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

Read the full press release here.

 

Sheepshead Bay Man Convicted of Trying to Kidnap 9-Year-Old Girl who was Playing in her Front Yard

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 10, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Sheepshead Bay Man Convicted of Trying to
Kidnap 9-Year-Old Girl who was Playing in her Front Yard

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 39-year-old man has been convicted of attempted kidnapping and other charges for trying to abduct a 9-year-old girl, who was playing in the front yard of her Sheepshead Bay home.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on the morning of June 11, 2015, the 9-year-old victim was playing in the front yard of her home on Ford Street in Sheepshead Bay. The defendant, Robert Drach, 39, of Sheepshead Bay, entered through the front gate and tried to drag her out. The victim struggled and screamed. Her father heard the screams, ran out and restrained the defendant until police arrived.

According to the evidence, the defendant stated that he was walking to a friend’s home when he saw a girl he liked, that she told him she was 18 and that she invited him to her house, saying her father wasn’t home. He also admitted to grabbing the victim and to exposing himself.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is disturbing that this defendant attempted to kidnap a little girl who was playing outside her home in broad daylight. She was lucky to be saved by her quick-thinking father and we will now see that the predator who attacked her is held accountable.”

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Read the full press release here.

Man Who Targeted Chinese Women Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison Following Guilty Plea to Robbery as a Hate Crime

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

November 9, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Man Who Targeted Chinese Women Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison
Following Guilty Plea to Robbery as a Hate Crime

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery as a hate crime for robbing five Chinese women and attempting to rob a sixth woman in separate incidents in Borough Park. The defendant admitted targeting them because of their race.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in the early morning of April 6, 2015, near 55th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, a 23-year-old woman of Chinese descent was walking alone when the defendant approached her from behind and repeatedly pulled on her purse, causing her to fall to the ground. He then stood over her and stated: “Give me all of your money.” According to the investigation, a bystander happened upon the attempted robbery and saw the defendant with his arm around the victim’s neck in an apparent struggle and called 911. Police apprehended Israel about 20 minutes later approximately six blocks from the scene.

Further, the defendant admitted that he committed five similar additional robberies of women of Chinese descent, ages 21 to 43, between March 21 and April 4, 2015, all in the vicinity of Fort Hamilton Parkway between 55th and 71st Streets, and was subsequently charged with those crimes. The investigation revealed that he selected women of Chinese descent because he perceived them to be vulnerable to an attack.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Today’s sentence shows that hate crimes such as these, which are based on a person’s race, gender, sexual identity or ethnicity, will not be tolerated in Brooklyn. The defendant specifically targeted Chinese women walking alone because he thought he could overpower them and escape prosecution. He’s now been held accountable.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Brownsville Woman Who Fatally Stabbed Boyfriend Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

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Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

October 28, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brownsville Woman Who Fatally Stabbed Boyfriend
Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brownsville woman has been sentenced to 15 years in state prison for fatally stabbing her live-in boyfriend after opening her apartment door for him while armed with a knife following an argument.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to testimony, in the early morning of February 23, 2014, the defendant, Latrina Crocker, 48, and the victim, Michael Artist, 52, were engaged in an argument inside their shared apartment. As the dispute ended, the victim left and returned a short while later, asking the defendant to open the apartment door. The defendant opened the door with a knife in her hand, continued to argue, and then stabbed the victim in the arm and chest. Afterwards, the defendant dragged the victim’s body into the hallway before calling 911.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A domestic dispute was needlessly escalated when this defendant chose to kill a man she once cared for. We, in Brooklyn, take seriously all forms of intimate partner violence and I am committed to holding all offenders accountable.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Announces Chess Program for At-Risk Youth in Partnership with Police Athletic League

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

October 27, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office Announces Chess Program for
At-Risk Youth in Partnership with Police Athletic League

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced a new initiative in East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant to provide high-quality chess programs to at-risk youth.

The chess program, created by Brooklyn native and International Hall of Fame chess grandmaster Maurice Ashley, will take place as two sessions a week over the course of 15 weeks on-site at PAL’s East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant locations. The program kicked off last week and will continue through August 2017 – with two cycles during the school year and one summer cycle.

The program is open to third- and fourth-graders in Bedford-Stuyvesant and to grades five through eight in East New York. Approximately 300 students are expected to take part in the program, which is being funded by a grant from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

The chess instruction will reinforce logic and critical thinking skills while promoting a love of the game. At the end of each cycle, participants will compete in a center-wide tournament, which will culminate in a Brooklyn-wide competition.

Maurice Ashley is a native of Brownsville, Brooklyn, and the first African-American international grandmaster. He was recently inducted into the International Chess Hall of Fame. In addition, Mr. Ashley, the author of Chess for Success, will be teaching some of the classes.

The idea for the program came from late Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, whose son is an avid chess player.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is an honor for me to carry out DA Ken Thompson’s vision for a chess partnership with the Police Athletic League that will benefit hundreds of young people, teaching them not only to carefully consider their next move in chess, but will also help them think strategically about their next moves in life. We couldn’t have a better leader in this effort than Maurice Ashley, who is not only a chess grandmaster, but a native Brooklynite and wonderful role model.”

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Man Who Targeted Chinese Women Pleads Guilty to Robbery as a Hate Crime

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

October 26, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Man Who Targeted Chinese Women Pleads Guilty to
Robbery as a Hate Crime

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Manuel Israel, 21, of Manhattan, has pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery as a hate crime for robbing five Chinese women and attempting to rob a sixth woman in separate incidents in Borough Park, targeting them because of their race. The defendant is expected to be sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in the early morning of April 6, 2015, near 55th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, a 23-year-old woman of Chinese descent was walking alone when the defendant approached her from behind and repeatedly pulled on her purse, causing her to fall to the ground. He then stood over her and stated: “Give me all of your money.” According to the investigation, a bystander happened upon the attempted robbery and saw the defendant with his arm around the victim’s neck in an apparent struggle and called 911. Police apprehended Israel about 20 minutes later approximately six blocks from the scene.

Further, the defendant admitted that he committed five similar additional robberies of women of Chinese descent, ages 21 to 43, between March 21 and April 4, 2015, all in the vicinity of Fort Hamilton Parkway between 55th and 71st Streets, and was subsequently charged with those crimes. The investigation revealed that he selected women of Chinese descent because he perceived them to be vulnerable to an attack.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant specifically robbed Chinese women because they walked alone and he believed they wouldn’t fight back or be able to identify him. Hate crimes based on a person’s race, gender, sexual identity or ethnicity destroy the fabric of our communities and will not be tolerated. This defendant has now been held accountable.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Nineteen Defendants Charged in Three Indictments with Gun Trafficking, Weapons Possession and Bank Larceny

KCDA-Seal-400x400----Brooklyn

Eric Gonzalez

Acting District Attorney
Kings County

October 21, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Nineteen Defendants Charged in Three Indictments with
Gun Trafficking, Weapons Possession and Bank Larceny

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that 19 defendants have been variously charged in three separate indictments for allegedly selling 40 trafficked firearms, possessing two illegal guns and attempting to steal about $60,000 from bank accounts. The charges all stem from a long-term investigation that relied on electronic surveillance and revealed interconnected schemes and alliances between alleged gang members and their associates.

The initial target of the investigation was Colin (“Rum”) Toney, 27, of South Carolina. Between June 2015 and September 2016, Toney and co-defendants allegedly sold a total of 40 guns that were purchased in his home state to an undercover NYPD detective in Brooklyn and Manhattan, according to the indictment.

During the course of the investigation, detectives learned of Toney’s past affiliation with a set of the Bloods gang based in New York City and started to monitor communications of two alleged gang leaders. Through them, the investigation exposed an alleged larceny operation, in which one of the defendants arranged the opening of bank accounts for the deposit of fraudulent checks and withdrawal of funds before banks could identify the bogus transactions. The defendants allegedly tried to steal approximately $60,000 from the banks and succeeded in withdrawing at least $37,000.

Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These indictments are a testament of our resolve to continue going after firearm traffickers, who endanger the safety of our communities for profit, and gang members, who often fund their crimes through larceny and fraud. Gun runners and those who aid them should be on notice that they are not safe from prosecution just because they live out of state – we will arrest them and bring them to Brooklyn to face justice.”

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Read the full press release here.

 

Queens Man Sentenced For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics

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Kenneth P. Thompson

District Attorney
Kings County

October 6, 2016

COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION

Queens Man Sentenced For Trafficking Firearms and Narcotics

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a gun trafficker who sold firearms and crack cocaine to undercover police officers over two months during an operation in Brooklyn and Queens was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a guilty plea earlier this year.

The District Attorney said that, starting in November 2014, the defendant, Everton Gonzalez, 24, of Ozone Park, Queens, sold a variety of firearms, along with several ounces of crack cocaine, to undercover police officers in East New York and Far Rockaway. In total, the defendant and two co-defendants sold the undercover officers 17 firearms, including various pistols and revolvers. The two-co-defendants were previously convicted and sentenced to five years and seven years in prison.

District Attorney Thompson said, “This investigation highlights our continued effort to stop the influx of drugs and firearms into Brooklyn. This defendant put public safety at risk by selling guns and his conviction and sentence is another step toward ending gun violence in our communities.”

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Read the full press release here.