2005-06-17 / Front Page

‘Preacher’, Others Charged With Murder

By Howard Schwach

One of the defendants arrested for the 5-year-old murder of Lee Smith is taken from the 101 Precinct by NYPD detectives.One of the defendants arrested for the 5-year-old murder of Lee Smith is taken from the 101 Precinct by NYPD detectives.

A notorious Rockaway crime figure and two other men were arrested and charged last week in a five-year-old case in which a local man was brutally murdered hours after a drug deal went sour.

The three men, Carl Murray Sr., Carl Benjamin and Jerome Jordan were arrested Thursday, June 9 and charged with the April, 2000 murder of Lee Smith, 30, of 1250 Redfern Avenue, on a Far Rockaway street.

Murray, 59, of 456 Beach 40 Street, is better known on the street as “Preacher,” and is allegedly a major kingpin in Rockaway, operating in drugs and guns.

According to the April 29, 2000 issue of The Wave, Smith was beaten with a baseball bat and then shot to death in an alleyway next to 311 Beach 13 Street on the night of April 23, 2000. Smith was shot numerous times in the head, back and abdomen after being chased down by then unidentified gunmen. Police said that 15 shots were fired at Smith, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Smith, who had an arrest record and earned three years in prison for an assault conviction, had been involved earlier that day in a confrontation with an unidentified drug dealer, police said at the time.

A spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown told The Wave that two of the men, Benjamin and Jordan had made “admissions” in the case. Benjamin, 27, lives at 416 Beach 66 Street. Jordan lives in Albany.

The three defendants were arraigned on June 10 on charges of murder in the second degree and several counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

If convicted, each of the defendants faces a sentence of 25 years to life, according to the district attorney’s office.

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