The New York Criminal Law Blog

June 2011 Archives

Bronx Football Star Isayah Muller Murdered After Graduation

Truman High School star running back Isayah Muller was stabbed to death in a brawl shortly after graduation.

According to ESPN, Muller and his family returned to their car following graduation ceremonies from the Bronx high school. As they drove off, Muller's father noticed that an expensive bottle of cologne that he had given to his son was missing from the car. So, the father turned the car around to confront the two parking lot workers who attended to the car.

The argument over cologne quickly got out of control as Muller's father allegedly attacked the parking lot workers with a shovel, hospitalizing one attendant reports ESPN. Isayah Muller is also believed to have participated in the attack.

Judge Denny Chin, the federal district court judge who sentenced Bernie Madoff to 150 years in prison, explained how he arrived at that sentence in a series of interviews with The New York Times.

In the interview, Judge Chin described his struggle to find the proper sentence, on the one hand weighing Madoff's age, he was 71 at the time, and on the other hand considering the extent of Madoff's fraud.

Madoff's attorney Ira Lee Sorkin had originally sought a 12-year sentence for the disgraced financier. Sorkin's argument was that Madoff could reasonably expect to live another 13 years, and so a 12-year sentence would allow Madoff to redeem himself and have something to look forward to.

In April, Lucali pizza chef Mark Iacono and alleged Genovese family mobster Benny Geritano knifed it out on the Brooklyn streets. Now, both men have refused to testify against the other and the Brooklyn district attorney has dropped all charges.

The fight happened in Carroll Gardens just a few blocks from Iacono’s celebrated Lucali pizzeria reports The New York Times. It’s unclear what precipitated the fight — a dispute over a woman, money issues, attempted mob intimidation have all been suggested — but the two men were reportedly in a furious argument at a nearby deli, when their dispute spilled into the streets and knives were drawn.

David Laffer Arrested for Long Island Haven Pharmacy Murders

In a surprising turn, Long Island police arrested a young couple, David Laffer and his wife Melinda, for the four murders at Haven Pharmacy on Father’s Day.

Haven Pharmacy surveillance cameras caught what appeared to be an older, bearded, strung-out man — who many speculated to be a drifter — killing four people in cold blood at the store. The man was shown first shooting two store employees before gunning down two unsuspecting customers. The man then filled a backpack with oxycodone and fled.

Four Murdered at Long Island's Haven Pharmacy

Four people were murdered during an apparent drug robbery at Haven Pharmacy in Medford, Long Island. According to the New York Post, the murders occurred on Father’s Day morning shortly after the pharmacy opened. The killer, an apparent drug addict, walked into the store and killed two store employees and two customers who happened to walk into the store as the crime was being committed.

Haven Pharmacy’s security cameras caught the entire gruesome scene. The killer, a man who has not yet been apprehended, was shown walking into the store and immediately shot two employees at close range reports the Post. The victims offered no resistance and did not appear to provoke the robber in any way.

Minutes later, two customers walk into the pharmacy and again they are gunned down at close range without warning. The killer did not say anything before murdering any of the victims reports the Post.

NYPD Investigating Dexter Isaac's Claim that He Shot Tupac

The New York Police Department said it is investigating Dexter Isaac’s confession that he shot and robbed Tupac Shakur in 1994. Isaac, currently serving life in prison for murder, robbery, and fraud, claims that he made the confession because the statute of limitations for the crime had already run, and so no one else could be charged with the crime, reports Reuters.

In 1994, Tupac Shakur was robbed and shot five times (twice in the head) after leaving a recording studio in Manhattan. Amazingly, Tupac did not die and checked himself out of the hospital shortly after surgery was complete. The robbery and shooting remains unsolved, but the incident is largely believed to have sparked the bitter feud between Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. (who released the hit single “Who Shot Ya?”).

Federal prosecutors recently dismissed their money laundering case against Manhattan jewelry store owner Artur Hiaeve, but the government may try to keep the $3 million worth of jewelry it confiscated from his store anyway.

According to The New York Times, Hiaeve was charged with selling watches for illegally obtained money at his jewelry store. As part of its arrest, the government also seized $3 million worth of jewelry from Hiaeve's store with the justification being that the goods were all part of a scheme to launder money.

Former New York Met Lenny Dykstra will remain in jail after a judge refused to reduce his $500,000 bail. Noting that the amount of bail was fair, the judge said that Dykstra will remain in jail unless he can raise 10% of the amount in cash or provide medical documentation for a newly raised mystery medical issue that would apparently require Dykstra to not be in jail reports the New York Daily News.

According to the Daily News, the 48-year old Dykstra is awaiting arraignment on grand theft auto and felony drug possession charges. Dykstra was arrested with two other men in April in connection to an auto leasing scheme where they allegedly defrauded car dealerships by using phony information to lease cars. At the time of arrest, Dykstra is said to have been in possession of cocaine, Ecstasy, and human growth hormone, thus the drug charges.

“Holla Holla” rapper Ja Rule is set to begin a two-year prison sentence on Rikers Island after having pled guilty to a gun charge last year. Ja Rule tweeted to his fans “my last day out” while spending time with his family at the movies reports the Associated Press.

Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, pled guilty to criminal possession of a gun last December resolving a four-year old case. According to the AP, in 2007, police found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun inside Ja Rule’s Mercedes Benz when he was stopped for speeding after leaving a concert in Manhattan. Coincidentally, rapper Lil Wayne was arrested and served eight months in a city jail for the same offense after leaving the same concert.

After serving 20 months in the Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York, former NY Giants receiver Plaxico Burress was paroled and has been released from prison. Burress will be on parole for the next two years reports the New York Post.

Burress pled guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in August 2009 and was sentenced to two years in prison reports the Post. The former Giants receiver's arrest stemmed from an incident at a New York City nightclub where he accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unregistered gun.

NYPD, FDNY Members Charged With Illegal Gambling

A veteran NYPD cop, two FDNY firefighters, a mortician, and ten others were charged with running an illegal gambling ring in Staten Island. The NYPD cop, Richard Palase, was allegedly the ringleader of the operation that ran high-stakes poker games reports the New York Post.

According to the Post, the gambling ring operated high-stakes poker games along four locations in Staten Island. Richard Palase allegedly oversaw the operation, providing gamblers with dealers, tables, food, and even ensured that armed security men watched over them. The Post reports that the gambling operation brought in thousands of dollars each week for the operators.

Another Banker Charged With Sexual Assault of Hotel Maid

Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, an Egyptian banker, is the latest international financier charged with sexual assault at a Manhattan hotel. Just two weeks after IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest for sexually assaulting a hotel worker, the 74-year old Omar is now accused of assaulting a hotel maid at the upscale Pierre Hotel reports TheWall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar allegedly requested that tissues be brought to his hotel room. When a hotel maid arrived bearing three boxes of tissues, Omar is reported to have locked the maid in the room before proceeding to grope and rub her body.

Omar has been charged with sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, forcible touching, and harassment.