NEW YORK, USA (CMC) — A jury in a New York court on Thursday found a 33-year-old man guilty of the death of Jamaican lawyer Carey Gabay, a former legal aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during the Caribbean J’ouvert celebration on Labour Day 2015. Though prosecutors had argued for a murder conviction, jurors in the Brooklyn Supreme Court instead reached a second-degree manslaughter conviction against Kenny Bazile.
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The Brooklyn, New York resident was also found guilty of criminal possessions of a weapon.
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Cuomo said Gabay, 43, the first deputy general counsel at a state economic development agency, “was an inspiring public servant whose life was cut short by senseless gun violence.
“I hope this guilty verdict gives them [Gabay‘s family] some comfort that justice has been served,” he said in a statement.
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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told Gabay‘s family: “Our hearts go out to you. I know today’s verdict was difficult
“But he was held responsible, and we’re going to make sure that the next set of defendants are also held accountable,” Gonzalez assured
Sam Karliner, Bazile‘s lawyer, said his client faces up to 15 years in jail on the involuntary manslaughter charge, when he is sentenced on September 12
He, however, said he will appeal Bazile‘s conviction
“I don’t want to say I disagree with it, but I think reckless endangerment would’ve been a better verdict,” Karliner told reporters after Thursday‘s verdict
Bazile was the sixth man charged with Gabay‘s murder
“We have made a promise to the family of Carey Gabay to hold accountable everyone who took part in the shootout that took his life,” said Gonzalez, who traces his roots to Puerto Rico
In June 2016, Micah Alleyne, 26, of Jamaica, Queens; Tyshawn Crawford, 22, of East New York, Brooklyn; and Keith Luncheon, 25, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn were indicted for murder and related charges for their alleged role in the shooting
A fourth defendant, Kenny Bazile, 32, was indicted on similar charges in September 2016, Gonzalez said
Stanley Elianor, 26, of Brownsville, Brooklyn, was also charged with second-degree murder, four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment in Gabay‘s murder
Gonzalez said Elianor faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count with which he is charged
The defendant was previously arraigned in October 2015 with criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly having a loaded machine gun at the scene
Gonzalez said further investigation revealed that he allegedly also fired a small calibre gun, inciting additional violence, as warring gang members engaged in a gun battle
He said that, according to the investigation, the incident took place during the early morning hours of September 7, 2015 in front of 1680 Bedford Avenue, which is part of the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights, Brooklyn
At the time of the shooting, Gonzalez said the patio and street in front of the building were filled with hundreds of people, many of whom were celebrating J’ouvert, a traditional predawn festival that precedes the annual West Indian American Day Parade
Gonzalez said the building’s large patio was known to be controlled by the Folk Nation street gang, “which has been engaged in a year-long war with the 8-Trey faction of the Crips gang ,” among others
At about 3:40 am he said a group of 8-Trey members walked up from Montgomery Street, apparently heading toward the J’ouvert procession on Empire Boulevard, about two blocks to the south
“Their presence in ‘enemy territory’ sparked a gun battle between Folk Nation members and their affiliates, who were shooting from the street and the patio, and the 8-Trey members who fired from the street before fleeing north,” Gonzalez said. “An estimated two to three dozen shots were fired in two consecutive volleys from at least eight firearms, according to the investigation.”
At the same time, Gonzalez said Gabay was walking north on Bedford Avenue with his brother and a couple of friends after attending the J’ouvert procession
“They happened upon the front of the patio just as the gunfight broke out,” Gonzalez said. “The group ran to a parking lot located between the patio and the street and ducked near parked cars
“A bullet struck Mr Gabay in the head, and he was taken to Kings County Hospital Centre [in Brooklyn], where he died a week later, on September 15, 2015,” Gonzalez said