2010-07-02 / Top Stories

Man Gets 50 To Life For Hammels Shooting

A 24-year-old Jamaica, Queens man has been sentenced to fifty years to life in prison for the fatal shooting of a female bystander who was hit in the head when the defendant fired several shots at another man in April 2009 at the Hammel Houses.

A spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown identified the defendant as Nigel (also known as “Newz”) Vasser, 25, of 108-32 164th Street.

Vasser, who was convicted on June 9 of second-degree murder, seconddegree attempted murder and seconddegree criminal possession of a weapon, appeared today before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak who imposed an indeterminate term of 25 years to life in prison on the murder charge, which is to be served consecutively to a determinate term of 25 years on the attempted murder charge and to a concurrent determinate term of 15 years on the gun possession charge.

Brown said, “The sentence imposed today sends a strong message to others that gun violence and the taking of innocent lives will not be tolerated. In this case, the defendant callously stood in front of a densely populated public housing development and – without any thought about the safety of others in the vicinity – recklessly fired an illegal handgun at an unarmed man, striking and fatally wounding an innocent bystander. He has now been accountable for his actions and can expect to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.”

According to the trial testimony, Vasser, a reputed member of the Bloods street gang, was at the Hammels Houses, located at 84-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, at approximately 7:20 p.m. on April 23, 2009, when he pointed a handgun in the direction of Derrell “Buddha” Daniels, an alleged Crips member, and fired several shots, striking Hammels House resident Melissa Williams, 28, in the head. Ms. Williams was rushed to the hospital, where she remained on life support for nine days before dying. Daniels was unscathed.

Vasser was arrested shortly after the incident by detectives assigned to the NYPD’s 100 Precinct Detective Squad.

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