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Court Decides Murder Case

A former employee of a bodega came in just as the manager was closing shop. The former employee had a loaded pistol and pointed it at the manager. He cocked it and ordered him to open the safe or he’ll blow his brains out. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the former employee was accompanied by another man and they both forced the manager back into the office.

The former employee heard footsteps in the store so he gave the gun to the other man and told him to guard the manager. The former employee espied the manager’s wife. He grabbed her and pushed her inside the office when they heard a gun go off. When the former employee heard the shot, he dragged the manager’s wife into the office. The manager wrestled with the other man and the gun went off.

Both men tried to flee through the back entrance; they dragged the manager’s wife and forced her to open the door. They were unable to unlock all the doors so the men used a bolt cutter to shatter the locks.

The night porter, who was about to come in for duty, had just awakened; and was coming down to the store from his quarters on the second floor. He saw the two men. He noted the presence of the former employee and he assumed that they had been locked in as the manager was closing up. He told them to wait so he could get the manager’s keys. Before he even reached the office, the night porter saw the manager’s legs on the floor and he realized that it was a hold up. The former employee aimed the gun at him and told him that he would kill him but then the other man pushed a shopping cart through the glass front of the store and the two of them ran off. The cashier of the bodega who had just gone off-duty and was outside saw the former employee.

When the police arrived, the cashier, the night porter and the manager’s wife all identified the former employee and told them that he was there just that afternoon speaking with his cousin who was also an employee of the bodega. The police then went to the cousin’s house and he said that he had not seen his cousin since that afternoon. Much later, the cousin admitted that his cousin knocked on his door just a few hours before and asked him to drive them to a nearby motel in Queens. The armed robber who was with the former employee had a brother-in-law who was a New York police officer and they asked him to help them find the two suspects. Through the mediation of the brother-in-law, the two armed robbers surrendered.

Both men were arrested at the motel and they gave a statement to the police. The armed robber confessed to having planned the robbery and asked the former employee to help him. He also confessed that the former employee’s cousin who still worked at the bodega agreed to meet them after the robbery and drive them to the motel. He also agreed to hide the gun for them. The former employee gave a similar confession. The cousin was also interrogated and he admitted to the police that the former employee approached him asking him when the store would close and that he received the gun from him and hid it.

All three were charged, tried and convicted of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree, and petit larceny. In a separate indictment, they were also charged with murder in the second degree, attempted robbery in the first degree and attempted robbery in the second degree. As each statement was read into evidence the trial court instructed the jury that each confession can only be used against the defendant who made the statement.

A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said the only question before the Supreme Court is whether or not the admission of all the statements were an error that constituted a violation of his constitutional rights that would result in an acquittal.

The Court held that, indeed, there was a violation of the constitutional right of the other armed robber when his trial was not severed from the other two defendants as their admissions would work prejudice against him.

However, the Court ruled that the error is negligible in light of the overwhelming evidence of the armed robber’s guilt. No less than three people identified him: the manager’s wife, the night porter and the cashier. The armed robber himself admitted his own participation in the crime. It cannot be determined how the erroneously admitted evidence contributed to his conviction as the weight of all the evidence totally proved his guilt beyond all doubt.

Possessing a gun and using it to perpetrate a robbery brings a stiffer penalty. Are you facing an indictment for armed robbery? Were you in possession of a loaded weapon at the time of the robbery? You need a lawyer even if you decide to confess and admit to the crime. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today. Whether you have been charged with robbery, sex crimes or a drug possession charge.

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