Deliveryman killer to be sentenced tomorrow

UPDATE: DANTE THATCHER, THE CONFESSED KILLER, WAS SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON.

The man who gunned down a 25-year-old deliveryman in a downtown Yonkers apartment building will be sentenced on Tuesday, and his sister, who became a Yonkers councilwoman after her brother’s slaying, is expected to give a victim’s impact statement in court.

The victim, Martin Antonio Perez (left), was working as for the now-closed Emerald Diner when he was called to make an $18 food delivery to 50 Hawthorne Ave. on Dec. 17, 2007. Police said he might have been lured to the 18th floor for a fake order before he was confronted by attackers who wanted to rob him.

Perez’s body was found in a 12th floor stairwell. His daughter, Kayla, was just 7 months old when he was killed.

The senseless slaying led to an outpouring of community outrage and numerous donations to Kayla Perez’s college fund. It also turned the victim’s sister, Virginia Perez (right), into an anti-violence activist. She was elected to the City Council in November.

Two days after the fatal shooting, police arrested 18-year-old Xavier Goodwine and charged him with murder. But police suspected that Goodwine wasn’t the lone attacker and placed billboards around the city offering a $12,000 reward for information leading to additional arrests.

Dante Thatcher of Yonkers was arrested last year as the gunman and was indicted on murder, attempted robbery and weapons charges. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the top count of the indictment, on Jan. 30.

Goodwine pleaded guilty in October to first-degree attempted robbery. His sentencing date was set for April 19.

 

Closing arguments in shooting ambush of Yonkers family

UPDATE: Shooting suspects Charles Parsley and Kasaun White have been convicted of all charges in the case.

Someone wanted Sandra Hackley-Cornielle dead, but no one is saying who, or why.

What Westchester County prosecutors did say today in their closing arguments was that Charles Parsley and Kasaun White worked together with a third man on a mission to kill the 36-year-old mother of two, and in the process shot her husband and their 12-year-old daughter two years ago.

Prosecutors suggested the men were acting on the behest of someone who put a hit on Hackley-Cornielle (left). They mentioned a suspicious visit she had weeks earlier when two men, posing as police, came to her home asking about her husband’s ex-wife. She did not let them in.

The encounter led to the repair of the apartment building’s security camera, which prosecutors said filmed White and Parsley entering the building and leaving in a hurry. White’s lawyer, Mayo Bartlett, said the man on the tape was not their clients, and Parsley’s lawyer said his client may have been in Yonkers that day but had nothing to do with the shootings.

Parsley and White, cousins from Long Island, are alleged to have staked out the family’s apartment at 1159 Yonkers Ave. on April 21, 2010, waiting for Hackley-Cornielle to come home from her marketing job in New Hyde Park, Long Island.

That evening, a man wearing what looked like a UPS uniform buzzed their apartment, saying he said he had a package that Sandra had to sign for. When Rafael Cornielle opened the door, he was ambushed. His wife was shot five times and died almost instantly. He was shot three times and lived. Their elder daughter was shot once in the leg, while their younger daughter was unharmed.

A motive for the slaying was never discussed during the trial; in fact, the defense for each man argued that the lack of a motive was one reason why their clients were innocent.

The jury will be charged and begin deliberations today. Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambelli told them they would have lunch brought to them and may have to stay as late as 6 p.m.

White (above, left) and Parsley (right) face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

A third defendant, English Thomas, who allegedly drove the two friends to and from the crime scene and provided the box that the shooter used as a prop, is due to be tried at a later date.

Yonkers man to serve 15 years in prison for killing teen, cat

A 20-year-old Yonkers man was sentenced today to serve 15 years to life in prison for shooting a former friend to death two years ago.

Shaman Irvin (left) apologized in court for killing 18-year-old Tyrone Stone, saying that he would give anything to take back his actions the afternoon of Sept. 30, 2009.

“I messed up my life,” he said.

Irvin shot Stone multiple times as he walked near 41 Morris St., just around the corner from his home. Stone was en route to see a friend, who had been shot hours earlier, police said.

At the time Stone was killed, Irvin had been charged with throwing his mother’s cat 14 floors to its death. Irvin told police he hated cats and had tossed his mother’s cat from her Warburton Avenue apartment window because it had sprayed urine on the floor and had scratched him, Yonkers police said. Kenneth Ross, chief of the Humane Law Enforcement Division of Westchester’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, had said Irvin showed no remorse when he was arrested for the cat killing.

Irvin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a felony, in exchange for the 15-year-to-life sentence. He was facing 25 years to life if convicted at trial.
He also will serve 22 months in prison on a conviction of felony animal cruelty. That sentence will run concurrently, or at the same time, as the murder sentence.

Tyrone’s mother, Keiwanna Stone, said Irvin may have gotten “a taste of murder” after killing his mother’s cat, but she her son was shot because he refused to join a local gang.

“Shaman was pushed to do what he did,” she said. “It was a control thing.”

Keiwanna Stone gave a victim’s impact statement in court in which she asked Irvin why he killed her son and if he realized how much he hurt not only her and her family, but his own family and his chances for a good future.

“Your life is ruined now — ruined,” she told him.

Irvin said in court that he and Stone “were going through some rought times and things got out of hand,” but offered no further explanation.

Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambellli marvelled at Keiwanna Stone demeanor, saying she was “amazed and moved” at Stone’s willingness to forgive the man who murdered her son.

“She’s not a vengeful person,” Zambelli told Irvin. “She really cared about you.”

Keiwanna Stone said Irvin was living in a shelter after being thrown out of his home and fell in with a “bad crowd.” She said Irvin had visited her home and was even wearing her son’s clothes when Irvin shot him dead.

Tyrone became afraid of Irvin and his new group of friends, his mother said, recalling how he would look out of the window before leaving the house to make sure they weren’t there.

Ex-Yonkers library worker arraigned on felony theft charges

A former Yonkers library worker  pleaded not guilty today to charges that she swindles the library system out of  $163,582 over seven years.

Margo Reed of Yonkers (left) was arraigned in Westchester County Court on one count of second-degree grand larceny, 14 counts of falsifying business records, two counts of filing a false instrument and one count of filng a false tax returns. All of the charges are felonies.

She remains free without bail and is due back in court on Nov. 16, although her lawyer, Lawrence Sykes, will meet with prosecutors to discuss her case on Aug. 24.

She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of second-degree grand larceny.

Reed worked in the library’s business office and was responsible for collecting overdue fines and other revenue from the three branches of the Yonkers Public Library System. She was also responsible for handing over the library’s revenue to the Yonkers Finance Department for deposit. County prosecutors say she stole the money between July 7, 2004 and Dec. 7, 2010 from One Larkin Center in Yonkers.

Police said she had a key to the library’s locked deposit bag and used it to pilfer cash. She also is accused of altering the library’s business records to hide the missing funds.

District Attorney Janet DiFiore said the stolen money could have been used to buy books, reading materials and computers for Yonkers libraries.

“In today’s economy, with limited resources and tight budgets, this kind of crime directly impacts children, students, the elderly and anyone who looks to the public library system as a place of knowledge and enjoyment,” she said in a written statement.

Yonkers’ 2009 salary records indicate that Reed made $43,323 in gross pay and worked for the city since 1985. She lives in a federally subsidized apartment building where residents’ rents are based on their income.She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2003. Virtually all her debt was credit-card related, court papers show. According to federal court records, Reed’s case was closed on April 13, 2004, and a judge released her from all her debts.

Staff writer Ernie Garcia contributed to this report.

Yonkers man claims innocence in fatal shooting

A 21-year-old Yonkers man pleaded not guilty today in the May shooting death of another Yonkers man in the Nodine Hill section of the city.

Andrew Barnett (left) was arraigned in Westchester County Court on felony charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Barnett is accused of killing 20-year-old John Nunez-Lopez near 160 Willow St. on May 19. Police said Nunez-Lopez, who lived on Lamartine Terrace, was hit in the leg, stomach and side.  A witnesses said he heard three loud gunshots in rapid succession, and saw the victim lying in the street. Nunez-Lopez died at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.

One of the shots fired at Nunez-Lopez went into a second-floor apartment at 163 Willow Street and nearly hit a small child, police said.

Witnesses told police the gunman had fled into a nearby Willow Street building. Police searched the area, zeroed in on an apartment and took Barnett to the police station early the next morning.

In court papers, Barnett denied shooting anyone and said he has been asleep after a night of drinking. Barnett refused to have his hands swabbed for gunshot residue, police said, and started rubbing his hands on his pants when police explained that the swabs would determine if he had fired a gun.

Barnett is being held without bail. Police did not identify a motive and didn’t say if Barnett and Nunez-Lopez knew each other.

Photo: Westchester County Department of Corrections

Man charged with trying to arrange sex with girl, 10

A 49-year-old Fishkill man accused of trying to have sex with a 10-year-old girl was arraigned on a sex charge this morning.

Robert Viggiano (left), an electrical contractor, pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of first-degree attempted rape. He is free on $100,000 bail.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Viggiano approached a prostitute and told her he wanted to have sex with a 10-year-old virgin. He asked her if she could arrange it.

Instead, the prostitute reported him to Yonkers police, who with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office set up a sting operation. They had Viggiano go to a pre-arranged location on Feb. 8, leading him to think he would meet the girl there for sex.

When he showed up — with $400 and candy in his pockets — he was arrested.

Viggiano is due back in court on May 10. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison if convicted.

Reputed Mexican street gang member pleads guilty to fatal stabbing of rival

A reputed Mexican street gang member from Yonkers admitted in court today to killing a 23-year-old construction laborer last year, in a brazen midday attack in Yonkers’ busy New Main Street business district.

Edgar N. Marin, 19, (left) pleaded guilty in Westchester County Court to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter, a felony, and to charges of first-degree gang assault and fourth-degree weapon possession in the May 17 slaying of German Medina-Vazquez.

Police said Medina-Vazquez was a victim of gang rivalry.  Marin is an alleged member of the Vatos Locos street gang, while the victim was a member of a rival Mexican street gang, Tulocos or TLC.

Two othe young men from Yonkers charged as accomplices in the fatal stabbing already pleaded guilty to their role in the attack. Both are reputed  members of the Vatos Locos Mexican street gang.

Axel Vazquez, 17, (far left, in red) and Jorge Calixto, 20, (left, in white) pleaded to a reduced charge of second-degree gang assault and agreed to serve 3 1/2 years in prison. Vazquez is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday; Calixto’s sentencing is set for Feb. 10.

Detectives said the three suspects attacked Medina- Vazquez and beat him before Marin fatally stabbed him in the 200 block of New Main Street.

Police said Medina-Vazquez had been involved in a fight with Marin a few weeks before his murder, when Medina-Vazquez hit Marin in the head with a pipe. The homicide was revenge for that assault, which was never reported to authorities.

Medina-Vazquez, nicknamed “Barajas” for his native city in central Mexico, worked for a New York City construction company where his employer described him as an excellent worker. He had lived in Yonkers for two years, after moving there from South Florida, where he had worked installing wallboard.

His mother still lives in Barajas and his body was returned to Mexico, through the Mexican Consulate, for burial, police said.

Accused parent stabber arraigned in court

A 24-year-old Yonkers man accused of attacking his parents with a knife last year has been indicted on attempted murder and assault charges.

Dennis Reyes, (left) who lived with his parents at at 58 Maple Street, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Westcheser County Court in White Plains. He is being held without bail at the county jail in Valhalla, according to the Westchester District Attorney’s office.

Reyes allegedly stabbed his mother and slashed his father in the early morning hours of May 17. Police said he may have attacked the couple because they refused to give him money for drugs.

Police found the wounded couple at 3:16 a.m. after a neighbor called 911.  They found Reyes’ 67-year-old father standing at the corner of Maple and Oak streets, bleeding from the face.  He was treated at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers.

Reyes’ mother was found in a fourth floor hallway. She had been stabbed several times in her body and face. She was treated at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
Police said they found a knife-wielding Reyes on the roof of an adjoining building threatening to kill himself.

It took two hours for two officers to convince Reyes to drop the knife and surrender.

Reyes was charged with attmepted murder and two counts of assault, all felonies, and misdemeanor counts of menacing, comptempt and weapon possession.

He is due back in court on  March 7. He faces up to 25 years in state prison.

Accused Yonkers serial killer in court today

Alleged serial killer Francisco Acevedo had a brief court appearance in Westchester County Court today for a status update on his case. Acevedo is charged with  killing three women in Yonkers in 1989;1991 and 1996: Maria Ramos, Tawanda Hodges and Kimberly Moore.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Molea adjourned the case to Jan. 27. Even though Acevedo was in the courtroom for only a minute or so, Moore’s parents were in the gallery to show the judge support for their slain daughter.

My colleague Will David has written a gripping profile of Acevedo that the newspaper is planning to run on Monday, Dec. 6. David, who covers Yonkers police, spoke to Acevedo’s mother in Connecticut, contacted former employers and landlords and checked police reports. Apparently Acevedo, who is 41, has a history of assaulting women going back to when he was a teen. Check back here for a link to the story when it’s published.

NYC “party supplier” faces drug charges

A New York City teenager is accused of selling “party supplies” — drugs — on Craigslist to an undercover investigator from Westchester County.

Wesley Holman, 18, (left) of 60 E. 106th St., was arraigned last week in Yonkers City Court on a felony charge of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to the Westchester District Attorney’s office, which just released the information today.

He is due back in Yonkers City Court tomorrow.

Holman, using the screen name of “Sam,” allegedly offered to sell “party supplies” to an undercover investigator from the District Attorney’s office. In their email exchanges, “Sam” told the investigator that he had “ski” and “X” for sale, which are street names for cocaine and Ecstasy. He also showed online photographs of the drugs, prosecutors allege.

Holman arranged to meet the officer at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Yonkers Raceway Diner. He arrived at about 7:00 pm and was arrested. Prosecutors say he had one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine and 50 tablets of Ecstasy on him when he was arrested.

“The alleged activities of this defendant once again highlight the vigilance an adult, parent or caregiver should maintain when using any social networking, bulletin board, trading or auction site,” District Attorney Janet DiFiore said. “While the internet has become an integral part of our society, the organic nature of the web, no central control, means that the onus is on the user.”

Holman faces one to nine years in state prison if convicted.