Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced that a 31-year-old man has been convicted following a jury trial of a 1992 homicide in Jamaica, Queens.
District Attorney Brown said, "The defendant intentionally caused the death of a 16-year-old youth as the result of a personal dispute. The defendant’s conduct was violent and dangerous and warrants imposition of a substantial prison sentence. I hope that the jury’s verdict offers a measure of solace to the victim’s family."
District Attorney Brown identified the defendant as Eric Jenkins, 31, of 8201 Hammels Boulevard in Rockaway, Queens, who was found guilty of Murder in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree after a two and one-half week trial in Queens Supreme Court. A jury of seven men and five women deliberated four days and returned a verdict of guilty before Justice Stanley B. Katz who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on December 1, 2003. He faces a sentence of up to 25 years to life in prison.
According to trial testimony, on April 11, 1992 at about 8:30 p.m. Michael Reese, 16, was waiting for a "dollar van" at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 134th Avenue in Jamaica when he was approached by the defendant who fired several shots from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with two shots striking him in the head fatally wounding him. Trial testimony further revealed that the defendant’s nephew, Cecil Saddler, 17, had been severely beaten the day before the fatal shooting by a group of youths including Reese on a neighborhood basketball court. After the shooting the defendant fled on foot toward 134-29 166th Place in Rochdale Village. Police in Suffolk County arrested him on an unrelated criminal possession of a weapon charge and discovered after a record check that he was wanted in the homicide in Queens County.
According to District Attorney Brown, the case initially ended in a mistrial in 1993. Later that year the case was retried and resulted in a conviction that was subsequently reversed on appeal. In January 2003, the case was tried for a third time and resulted in a hung jury.