E. 51st Street man convicted of killing building handyman

A 62-year-old Flatlands man accused of knifing his building superintendent to death is facing life in prison now that he’s been convicted of second-degree murder.

Suspect Errol Irving, who spent 20 years in prison on incest, sodomy, and sexual abuse charges, wore a blank expression on his face as the jury found him guilty of killing 40-year-old Shayne Sinclair.

Sinclair’s relatives cheered the jury’s decision.

“I’m glad he’s been found guilty because that’s what he is — a guilty person,” said Sharon Henry, the victim’s older sister, who said her family is having trouble coping with her brother’s murder. “We still miss him every day.”

Prosecutors argued that Irving stabbed Sinclair back in February, 2011 during an argument over the lack of heat and hot water in the E. 51st Street apartment building near Avenue K.

Sinclair’s cousin, fiancée, and 6-month-old daughter were waiting in a car outside the building when the stabbing took place.

Defense attorney Albert Brackley contended that Sinclair had threatened and tried to extort money from Irving, who was simply defending himself. Yet crime scene and autopsy photographs entered into evidence showed no bruising on both Sinclair’s knuckles or Irving’s body.

Brackley said he would appeal the decision, claiming that news accounts about the slaying could have biased jurors.

Irving is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 29.

— Additional reporting by Henry Gass

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