2002-04-27 / Front Page

Rockaway Man Gets 7 Years In Tenant Leader Slay

Rockaway Man Gets 7 Years In Tenant Leader Slay

A Far Rockaway was sentenced to seven years in prison last week for his part in a wild shootout that resulted in the murder of a tenant patrol leader at the Redfern Houses.

Johnathon Whitmore, 28, was given the sentence after pleading guilty in Queens Supreme Court to a weapons charge.

While Whitmore did not address the family of the patrol leader, Maria Medina, both his mother and his lawyer expressed his regret over the shootout.

Whitmore’s lawyer maintained that the defendant was acting in self-defense in the March 10, 2000 shootout with three other men.

"The evidence has clearly shown that Johnathon was shooting because he was being shot at," his lawyer said.

The Medina case became a headline case in the city’s daily newspapers at the time it occurred because he has been sitting in the lobby attempting to keep drug dealers and other trespassers out of the building.

When she was shot, the 45-year-old Medina was reportedly crouching in an elevator when a stray shot pierced the metal door and hit her in the chest.

Prosecutors say that Tullie Hyman, who was previously convicted of second-degree murder in the case, was firing at Whitmore as Whitmore ran into the building where both he and Medina lived.

Hyman is awaiting sentence. A second man was found not guilty and a third of awaiting trial.

Whitmore has already been in jail for two years and he is likely to be eligible for parole in 2006, according to the district attorney’s office.

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