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  • Fri, May 31, 2013 4:49 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    Two men shot to death in a Central Islip neighborhood less than two days apart may have been random victims of a lethal gang initiation ritual, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

    The Sunday night shooting of Derrick Mayes, 21, and the Tuesday morning killing of Keenan Russell, also 21, matched the tactics, sources said, of a rash of shootings in the Central Islip area in 2009 and 2010 that were the work of MS-13 gang members. Some of those shootings targeted perceived rival gang members, but others claimed innocent victims.

    Law enforcement sources said they have learned from informants that a new crop of MS-13 members had been "jumped in" and were expected to "draw blood" from those they perceived as rival gang members.


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    But other sources cautioned that despite the similarities, no one has been charged in either shooting and the investigation is still in its early stages.

    Friends and relatives of Mayes, a warehouse worker, and Russell, an aspiring rapper, said they were not gang members.

    "The victims are random," a source said about the most recent killings. "The shootings are rarely random."

    Suffolk County police did not respond to requests for comment on the matter. According to the sources, the department's homicide and criminal intelligence units have reached out to federal authorities in the two cases.

    Their deaths and the fatal shooting of Matthew Gilmore, 25, just blocks away and hours later rattled residents and spurred County Executive Steve Bellone to vow to "bring the killers to justice."

    Police said Tuesday that Gilmore's shooting was not linked to the previous two.

    Mayes was found lying dead in the street with a gunshot wound to his torso about 11:35 p.m. Sunday. Police said he had been walking on Wilson Boulevard when he was confronted and shot. Witnesses in the quiet neighborhood said they heard three loud shotgun blasts but no voices or screaming.

    Mayes' mother, Sabrina Mayes, 39, said her son and his girlfriend of two years, Chanice Graham, 19, were expecting their first child in December.

    She said her son was close to his brothers and sisters and others and avoided trouble.

    "He was never in a gang. He was a normal kid," she said yesterday at her Central Islip home.

    Russell was shot in the abdomen after a party as he gathered with several others outside a house on Acorn Avenue about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. A friend of Russell said he heard the gunshot, but did not see who opened fire. He turned and ran with others back into the house and only later realized his friend was missing.

    Russell was a rapper whose music was being noticed in the industry.

    Gilmore also aspired to be a rapper and wanted to open up his own car dealership despite brushes with the law over his driving record.

    On Wednesday, the families of all three men grieved separately for them.

    "I feel numb," said Matthew Gilmore's mother, Gloria Gilmore, 70, of Central Islip. "My body can't move. I have no money to bury him because I have no insurance. I don't know what to do."

    Gilmore said she was notified of her son's death at 11:47 p.m. Tuesday. She said she has no idea if her son was involved in any trouble.

    Police have no additional information on his case.

    "It's very, very scary," said Malachi Smith, 21, a friend of Russell's, about the threat of being targeted by a gang. "I was nervous the whole ride here. In the daylight!"

    Wednesday afternoon two Suffolk detectives visited Russell's father, Clemmie Russell. They chatted for about 10 minutes and left.

    "It's rough," Clemmie Russell said afterward. "This is chaos right now. Too many kids getting killed for no good reason. I don't see a reason. It's nonsense."Five of Russell's childhood friends stopped by to pay their respects as well. They said Russell was all about playing basketball, seeing his girlfriend, working and making music.

    "It's devastating," said Deshawn Carter, 21 of Central Islip. "He was one of my closest friends. You don't imagine losing your closest friends like this. It's hard to bear."

    Deron Williams, 21 also of Central Islip, was with Russell at the party shortly before he was shot. They were standing in front of the home that was hosting the party when the shots rang out.

    "I didn't see nothing," said Williams. "My back was turned to the street. All I heard was the gunshots. Everybody started running and when I looked behind me to see if he was there, he wasn't."

    Williams said he called Russell on his cellphone to check on him and tell him he had run into the house. Russell picked up. "He told me, 'I'm good' and then my phone died."

    Those were his last words to Williams. The last he saw of Russell was the red Cubs baseball cap Russell wore earlier, lying in the street.

  • Fri, May 31, 2013 4:48 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    A crack down on increasing gang violence on Crandall and Thorp Streets in Binghamton results in the arrest of an alleged Latin King Gang Member.

    The Broome County Special Investigations Unit Task Force and Joint Area SWAT Team raided the first floor apartment at 25 Berlin Street in Binghamton Tuesday.

    Police say 18 year old Gabriel Gonzalez attempted to flee out the back door but was caught by officers. They say Gonzalez admitted to being a Latin King.

    He was found in possessions of a stolen revolver hand gun and a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun.

    He will be arraigned in the City of Binghamton Court.
  • Fri, May 31, 2013 4:47 PM | Trevor (Administrator)

    Mount Vernon Police arrested three members of the “Goonies” street gang Friday evening in connection with a murder inside a crowded Alamo Bar at 166 Gramatan Ave.

    Bronx resident Demetrius Price, 24, and Yonkers resident Donnie Dixon, 24, whose home Hill was hiding in, were subsequently arrested.

    Hill was charged with second-degree murder, a felony, Price was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution, a felony, and Dixon was charged with second-degree hindering prosecution, a felony.

    Hill’s criminal record dates back to 2005 and include seven arrests. He was charged with torturing an animal, robbery, possession of stolen property and reckless endangerment. He was convicted of seven misdemeanors and one felony.

    Mayor Ernest D. Davis praised the work of the Mount Vernon Police for their work.

    “The Mount Vernon Police Department moved swiftly to arrest those responsible for brazenly open fire in a location where others could have easily been killed or harmed,” Davis said. “Those involved in criminal activity should be forewarned; Mount Vernon Police Department will relentlessly pursue offenders and bring them to justice.”

    Sgt. Daniel Fischer led the Mount Vernon Police Department Major Case Unit in the investigation along with investigators from the Westchester County District Attorneys’ Office, FBI, Yonkers Police and Westchester County Police.

    Christopher Foe was fatally shot in the chest and abdomen around 2 a.m. on May 19. He was the second murder victim in Mount Vernon in a three-day span.

  • Tue, May 28, 2013 9:35 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    YONKERS, N.Y. – A reputed Yonkers gang member faces the death penalty after federal prosecutors say he murdered a rival gang member in 2011.

    Marquis “Smurf” Jones, who is already in federal custody on drug charges, was named Wednesday in a six-count indictment charging him, among other things, with the murder of Carlos Patricio, 28, of Mount Vernon.
    Jones is alleged to have shot Patricio in the head on July 28, 2011, after firing several bullets into a crowd of people.

    Patricio’s death had been labeled as unsolved before Jones was charged Wednesday with use and discharging of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence causing death, a crime that is punishable by the death penalty.
    Also included in the lengthy indictment were drug, weapons and conspiracy charges, each punishable between 20 years and life in prison.

    Prosecutors said Jacobs carried loaded guns while peddling crack cocaine on city streets and robbed other drug dealers, including a November 2011 incident in which he ripped off a Cliff Street drug dealer and shot the man in the stomach, prosecutors said.

    Jacobs was initially arrested by the FBI and Yonkers police on Dec. 2, 2011 and charged with distributing crack cocaine. He, along with three others, was later charged with additional drug and weapons charges along with conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery.

    The other men, Donald McIntosh, Maurice Anderson, and Manny Dossantos, have since pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

    “With the additional charges filed against Marquis Jacobs today, we continue the painstaking process of developing evidence against these marauding groups of alleged gang members and holding them to account,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “This defendant’s alleged catalogue of crimes typifies the gang warfare that is all too familiar and that we are bound and determined to extinguish.”

    Wednesday’s charges come as part of a long-term investigation into the gang activity in the Nodine Hill neighborhood.

    In August 2011, 66 reputed members and associates of the Elm Street Wolves and Cliff Street Gangsters were charged with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses.

    Four of the Elm Street Wolves were also charged with the murder of Christopher Cokley, who prosecutors say was a leading member of another Yonkers gang, the Strip Boyz. Sixty-three of these defendants have since pleaded guilty, prosecutors said.

    Then, in June 2012, 22 more alleged gang members, including 20 members of the Strip Boyz, were also hit with drug and weapons charges. Ten of these defendants have since pleaded guilty.

    “These ongoing investigations have significantly reduced crime and illegal gang activity in our city and they send a message that there is a heavy price to pay for such illegal actions,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said in a statement.
  • Tue, May 28, 2013 9:33 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    Gun death of driver tied to robbery spree.

    The loosely knit gang of teenagers began its robbery spree last December, pointing handguns at taxi drivers and fast-food delivery workers, taking their hard-earned money, authorities said.

    But on March 6, two of the teens allegedly took something money can’t replace: the life of 55-year-old taxi driver Mazen Abdallah.

    Thursday, the gang members appeared in State Supreme Court, indicted on charges that could, if convictions are secured, bring about prison sentences adding up to 270 years.

    Maurice “Quell” Howie, 17, of Hamburg Street, a South Park High School football star previously arrested in the slaying, and Sean Austin, 16, of Emslie Street, were each indicted on two counts of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the slaying.

    Rokym Knox, 19, of Emslie; Dequan Bailey, 17, of Hewitt Avenue; and Devante Wells, 17, of Bickford Avenue, were all charged with multiple counts of robbery.

    “It is principally alleged that this group of defendants, in varying combinations, robbed taxi drivers or pizza delivery drivers at gunpoint, culminating in the death of Mazen Abdallah,” Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said.

    As it turns out, Austin, the youngest of the teenagers, was the most prolific of the robbers, according to investigators, who allege that the teens were involved in the following holdups:

    • Dec. 2, Austin and Bailey robbed a cabdriver and a pizza delivery driver.

    • Dec. 3, Austin, Bailey, Wells and Knox robbed a cabdriver.

    • Feb. 1, Austin and Bailey robbed another fast-food delivery worker.

    • Feb. 9, Austin and Howie robbed a taxi driver.

    Then, in the early morning hours of March 6, after spending a night “hanging out” at a friend’s apartment, Austin and Howie called Airport Taxi requesting a ride to a Bailey-Kensington address.

    Abdallah, who was just starting his work day at about 5:30 a.m., picked up the pair and soon found himself in a struggle for his life, according to police, who believe that he refused to turn over the cash he had.

    “We think he resisted when they demanded his money,” an investigator said.

    Howie then shot Abdallah twice in the back of the head, according to authorities. The teens then placed his body in the back seat of the 2006 white Lincoln Town Car, police say, and parked it in the 700 block of Norfolk Avenue, a short distance from Kensington Avenue.

    A frantic search for Abdallah began when he failed to answer the two-way radio in his cab. His body was found by co-workers at about 7 a.m. A witness on Norfolk would later tell police of seeing two men walking away from the cab earlier that morning.

    Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said the arrests came about from a collaborative effort involving officers and detectives in the South and Northeast districts and the Homicide Squad.

    “This crime spree was put to a halt due to excellent police work,” Derenda said,

    The commissioner and Sedita also credited workers at the Erie County Crime Analysis Center for assisting investigators.

    After Abdallah was killed, Chief of Detectives Dennis J. Richards said, investigators sought help from the crime analysts in looking for patterns involving other robberies of taxi drivers and fast-food deliverymen.

    “Similar methods of operations emerged,” Richards said, “and that led investigators to this loosely knit gang who preyed on vulnerable people in the service industry.”

    The teens were arraigned in front of State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia. Prosecuting the case is Assistant District Attorney Paul A. Parisi, a member of Sedita’s recently established Tactical Prosecution Unit.


  • Tue, May 28, 2013 9:31 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    An alleged gang member from Yonkers known as Smurf was indicted Wednesday on murder charges. Federal prosecutors said he shot dead a rival gang member in July 2011.

    Marquis Jacobs has been in federal custody on drug charges since a December 2011 arrest, but on Wednesday, prosecutors unsealed a new indictment accusing Jacobs of the killing, as well as the robbery of a drug dealer in November 2011, who prosecutors say he shot in the stomach near Cliff Street.

    Carlos Patricio, 28, of Mount Vernon was shot in the head just after midnight on July 28, 2011, police said then, after several shots were fired at a group of people.

    The case had gone publicly unsolved until Wednesday, when Jacobs was charged.

    Prosecutors portrayed him as a key player in the Yonkers gang scene that has flourished in the Nodine Hill neighborhood. Prosecutors accuse Jacobs of selling crack, robbing other drug dealers and routinely carrying guns.

    He was charged Wednesday with robbery, conspiracy and other charges in a six-count indictment, including one charge undefined possession, use and discharging of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence causing death undefined that is punishable by the death penalty.

    Adam Perlmutter, a lawyer for Jacobs, said that he had just seen a copy of the new indictment but added that Jacobs was innocent and that he intended to plead not guilty.

    “We intend to vigorously fight the charges,” Perlmutter said.

    Jacobs was arrested Dec. 2, 2011, along with three other men, who have pleaded guilty to drug charges and await sentencing.

    “With the additional charges filed against Marquis Jacobs today, we continue the painstaking process of developing evidence against these marauding groups of alleged gang members and holding them to account,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

  • Tue, May 28, 2013 9:28 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    Albany, NY

    The longest trial in Albany County history ended Monday night with the convictions of two gang members and a major drug dealer in a ring that peddled heroin and cocaine on Capital Region streets.

    The legal saga, which began Feb. 25 with jury selection before Judge Stephen Herrick, ended in its 13th week around 7:45 p.m. Monday.

    After eight days of deliberation, itself a county record, the jury of six men and six women found Guy Anderson, 35, of Cohoes, known as "Sos," a supplier of the cocaine and heroin, guilty of at least 15 drug-dealing related counts, including being a "major trafficker," which alone carries a life sentence.

    Bloods street gang member Michael "Jigga" Williams, 27, of Albany, and Jamel "Melly Mel" Pearson, 36, a member of the South End-based Original Gangsta Killas street gang, were both convicted of at least 10 counts each of drug dealing-related charges. Williams was also convicted of conspiracy. As persistent felony offenders, both face possible life terms.

    Williams made several lewd comments to an investigator before being escorted from the courtroom undefined and called the cop a "coward" and "devil."

    Jurors acquitted Marquese Johnson, 34, who authorities said has been an OGK member, of all drug charges that ended in a verdict. He walked from the courtroom, where a supporter patted his back.

    The jury did not reach a verdict on five counts in the case, which relied on hundreds of wiretaps. Johnson could be retried.

    The convictions marked the end of a 2012 case brought by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office against 52 defendants, including reputed members of the Bloods and OGK.

    Most of the defendants cut plea deals before the case went to trial. In midtrial, the judge dismissed the charges against two of the defendants undefined Anthony Taylor of Albany and Richard Collier of Glens Falls undefined following arguments by their attorneys.

    The remaining four defendants learned their fate only after Herrick gave the jury an "Allen charge," a last-ditch effort to get a deadlocked juror to reach a verdict, just before 3 p.m. Monday.

    Collier and Taylor's charges were dismissed on May 2.

    "We believed all along the proof against Mr. Collier didn't rise to the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Collier's attorney, Holly Trexler, told the Times Union. "It was the right decision."

    The length of the trial eclipsed the previous record held by the 2007 insurance fraud trial involving six members of the Houghtaling family in Colonie. Jury selection began in that case on March 5, 2007. The jury reached its verdict on May 17, 2007. After five days of deliberation, jurors acquitted three members of the family completely and found not-guilty verdicts on more than 100 counts. Two defendants were convicted of low-level felonies.



  • Tue, May 28, 2013 9:27 PM | Trevor (Administrator)
    SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse Police say a violent street gang, the Lex Ave Midtown Assassins, or LAMA, had a deal, but broke it and now are paying the price. It's all part of the federal, state and local initiative launched this year known as "Syracuse Truce."

    A task force met with several gangs, including LAMA. The gangs were told that if they maintained a truce, various services would be provided to help members find a way out of a life of crime. But if gang related killings continued, the gangs involved would face a massive crackdown.

    On March 10th, authorities say a Lex Ave member shot and killed Daryl Mobley, leading to a month long effort focused on every member of the group.

    “In those 30 days, we arrested 22 members of the LAMA gang. We revoked the parole of one member. We revoked probation of another member. We revoked the federal probation of another member. We had eight LAMA members had their social services benefits revoked because they didn't belong on them,” said Syracuse Police Department Sgt. Thomas Connellan.

    Connellan says searches also led to recovery of weapons and drugs. He says the message to all gangs in the city is that if they break the truce, they can expect a similar crackdown in the future.
  • Thu, May 16, 2013 5:08 AM | Trevor (Administrator)
    A Town of Tonawanda man was convicted Friday of wounding an innocent female bystander when he was trying to shoot a witness in a murder case just after midnight last Aug. 5.

    Eric Smith, 23, a member of the Buffalo chapter of the Rollin’ 60s Crips street gang, was convicted of first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

    Following a week-long trial before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia, the Buffalo jury of six women and six men deliberated for just over three hours before finding Smith, of Colvin Avenue, guilty as charged in the shooting at Colvin and St. Lawrence Avenues in Buffalo.

    After the judge remanded Smith pending his July 2 sentencing, trial prosecutors Michael P. Felicetta and James R. Gardner said they will urge Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III to recommend the judge impose the maximum-allowable 25-year prison term on Smith.

    Daniel J. Dubois, attorney for Smith, who has been jailed since his arrest last September, said the conviction will be appealed.

    Monday and Tuesday the woman who Smith shot and the male prosecution witness who was the intended target identified Smith as the shooter. The prosecutors and court officials asked the news media not to identify the two witnesses.

    The prosecutors said Smith was attempting to silence a witness against fellows Crips members in the grisly stabbing of 16-year-old Darren Brown during a Crips inauguration ceremony last July 5. The prosecutors said Brown was killed because men wanting to get admitted to the Crips had to first carry out a killing.

    Kentie Crumps, 17, of Young Street, another Crips gang member, faces a still-unscheduled assault trial for his alleged role in the attempted shooting of the prosecution witness, Felicetta and Gardner said.

    On March 18, a jury found Ezeiekile Nafti, 17, guilty of first-degree murder for taking part in the killing of Brown, who was stabbed 54 times before his body was set on fire on an old railroad right-of-way near Colvin Avenue late on July 5, 2012.

    Nafti faces sentencing May 29 before Buscaglia. Felicetta and Colleen Curtin Gable, the prosecutors in the murder case, said Crips gang member Demetrius Huff, 18, who had pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and then withdrew his plea, faces a murder trial before Buscaglia on Sept. 30.

    After the verdict was announced, Sedita said he considered Smith’s “violent conduct linked to witness intimidation efforts to be an affront to the very integrity of the criminal justice system and must be dealt with accordingly.”
  • Thu, May 16, 2013 5:05 AM | Trevor (Administrator)
    ELIZABETHTOWN undefined Jurors found Scott E. Denno guilty on Wednesday of first-degree manslaughter and gang assault in the beating death of Robert M. Rennie.

    Rennie, a father of two young girls, was found dead by the closed iron bridge in Keeseville on the morning of Aug. 26, 2012.

    Denno admitted in court that he was one of three men who kicked Rennie during an attack late the previous night, but he claimed he had used the least force he could.

    The medical examiner had ruled Rennie’s manner of death a homicide, finding the Keeseville man had been beaten and died of internal injuries caused by blunt-force trauma.

    ‘DIDN’T FLINCH’

    When Essex County Judge Richard Meyer gave instructions to the jury Wednesday morning, he told the jurors they could also consider second- and third-degree assault if the first-degree gang-assault charge did not hold up against the evidence.

    But the 12-person jury did not need to consider further than charges brought by Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague.

    Denno was the first in the courtroom to stand up as jurors readied to enter the courtroom.

    He stood quietly as Meyer invited their decision.

    The moment was tense, a culmination of six full days of testimony in a trial that took more than a week.

    Denno stared ahead, his hands clasped in front of him. He didn’t flinch as the guilty verdicts were read aloud.

    He looked toward the bench as individual jurors were polled, each standing and answering “yes” that he or she agreed with the verdict on both counts.

    ‘GRATEFUL’

    Rennie’s family, including his father, Robert J. Rennie, a sister and a brother, also stood steadfast but seemed visibly relieved with the decision.

    The family attended every hour of each day of this trial.

    As he left the courtroom, Mr. Rennie, the family’s spokesman, said they were grateful.

    Speaking softly, he thanked the prosecutors and the jurors for their decision.

    “We’re very glad for the decision rendered,” he said.

    The days of testimony brought the family back through the painful time last summer when Robert was found beaten to death.

    “It is reliving it all over again,” Mr. Rennie said.

    The family will attend the trials of two other men charged in Robert’s death.

    HUGGED FAMILY

    Sprague hugged members of the victim’s family after Denno was taken from the courtroom and the jury had been excused.

    “I’m just glad the jury listened to the instructions and applied them to the evidence presented,” the DA said.

    “I’m really pleased with the verdict.

    The jury was sent to deliberate at about 10:17 a.m. and took just over two hours to reach a decision.

    The verdict was read aloud at 1:12 p.m. when court reconvened from lunch.

    TWO MORE TRIALS

    Denno faces a 25-year determinate sentence on the top count, Sprague said. Meyer set the sentencing for 2:15 p.m. June 27.

    The 20-year-old was returned to Essex County Jail without bail pending sentencing.

    He has been held there since his arrest last October along with Michael Rivers and Paul J. Taylor, whose trials in connection with the Rennie case are scheduled later this month and in June, respectively.

    Tuesday, Denno’s attorney, Joe Brennan, had asked the judge to dismiss all the charges; Meyer dropped the weapon charge relating to the footwear Denno was wearing during the kicking attack on Rennie.

    Taylor faces a second-degree murder charge and others for first-degree gang assault and possession of a weapon.

    DEGREE OF INTENT

    Chief Public Defender Brandon E. Boutelle said separate attorneys were assigned to defend Denno, Rivers and Taylor due to the potential conflict in individual cases.

    “The (attorneys) were assigned by the Elizabethtown Court when they (defendants) were arraigned,” he explained Wednesday.

    Lake Placid attorney Greg Laduke will defend Rivers.

    And Boutelle is defending Taylor.

    The difference between first-degree manslaughter and a murder charge, he said, hinges on the degree of intent, according to the law.

    First-degree manslaughter reflects an intention to injure someone that results in death.

    Murder is a charge brought against someone who intended to cause a person’s death.

    MUST BE UNANIMOUS

    Meyer explained the first-degree manslaughter, gang assault and lesser assault charges to the jury with instructions that lasted nearly an hour early Wednesday.

    First-degree manslaughter, he said, has occurred when a person acts “with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person … and causes the death” of that person.

    Intent, Meyer explained, does not require premeditation and can be “formed at the very moment a person acts” to cause the result, which in this case, was Rennie’s death.

    Gang assault, Meyer said, is when a person undefined aided by two or more people undefined causes “serious physical injury” that may or may not result in death.

    The jury verdict on each charge must be unanimous.
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