Gowanus goon sent away
Federal prosecutors have convicted and sentenced a notorious Boerum Hill drug czar after taking “a second bite at the apple” — a murder that suspect Gerard Price, also known as “Crime,” was acquitted of nine years earlier.
Price was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars on May 14 after being convicted of racketeering, murder and four attempted murders — all of which were planned from his drug-dealing domain inside the Gowanus Houses.
Officials said that Price, his brother Robert and uncle Eddie Pressley, “ran a violent drug trafficking organization that dominated the sale of heroin and crack in the Gowanus Houses throughout much of the 1990s.”
Back in August 1990, Price allegedly shot Ronald Chavis and Michael Brown after luring them from the Gowanus Houses to another housing project in Bedford Stuyvesant.
He killed Chavis, but only wounded Brown, who managed to escape the assassination attempt.
Kings County prosecutors charged him with the murder and the attempted murder, but Price was later acquitted at trial.
Years later, federal investigators stepped in and wrapped the murder into an ongoing criminal probe on Price.
“Through subsequent investigation, the government developed further evidence of Price’s commission of the Chavis murder, which led to his successful prosecution in federal court,” according to court papers. “In addition, the multi-year investigation resulted in the convictions of more than 20 other members and associates of the Price/Pressley organization on federal narcotics charges.”
“[Price’s] sentence will prevent a dangerous drug dealer from causing further mayhem in the community,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
Hate crime mistrial
A jury has declared a mistrial for one of the two men accused of beating an Ecuadorian immigrant to death — whom they thought was a homosexual.
After deliberating for 30 hours over four days, the jury deciding the fate of Keith Phoenix said that they were hopelessly deadlocked and couldn’t render a verdict. At the time, one of the jurors was refusing to deliberate.
Judge Patricia DiMango declared a mistrial and set a new trial for June 15.
Phoenix and Hakim Scott were accused of killing Jose Sucuzhanay after a clash on Dec. 7, 2008.
Prosecutors said that the duo mistook Sucuzhanay and his brother, Romel, 38, for gay lovers as they were seen walking arm-in-arm down Bushwick Avenue near Kossuth Place. Police later learned that the two men weren’t being affectionate — they were simply bracing against the cold.
Cops said that when Jose put his jacket on his brother’s shoulders, they were suddenly confronted by the two men, one of whom reportedly cried out, “Look at the faggots!”
“F**k you Spanish people,” another allegedly said.
The suspects jumped the siblings, knocking Sucuzhanay unconscious with the bottle. They then struck him repeatedly in the head with a baseball bat as he lay on the ground, officials said.
They were scared off when Romel pulled out a cell phone to call 911. Scott and Phoenix were arrested after a city-wide manhunt.
Their attorneys admitted that the two tussled with Sucuzhanay and his brother, but only grabbed the baseball bat when they saw Romel pull a gun, which was never found.
In videotaped confessions, both men admitted to attacking Sucuzhanay, but not because they thought he was gay.
Scott’s attorney, Craig Newman, told reporters that the attack “was never a hate crime.”
It seems that, in the end, the video taped confessions, which at first appeared to be damning evidence, helped the two suspects.
While Scott was convicted of manslaughter and is facing up to 40 years in prison, he was not convicted of a hate crime. Before announcing that they couldn’t render a verdict, Pheonix’s jury asked to view the confession repeatedly, according to published reports.