Gang assault to jury
On Mon., April 16, the jury began deliberating in the gang-assault trial of four lesbians accused of beating and knifing a man during an argument on Sixth Ave. in front of the IFC Film Center last Aug. 18.
Patreece Johnson, 19; Venice Brown, 18; Renata Hill, 24; and Terrain Dandridge, 19, all of Newark, N.J., were charged with first-degree assault in the beating of Dwayne Buckle, 29, after an argument that turned violent. Three women friends of the defendants pleaded guilty to attempted assault and were sentenced in February to six-month jail terms.
Police witnesses at the trial last week said that after an initial assault on the victim, the three returned, and a video surveillance camera showed Johnson opening her bag and pulling out a knife. Johnson is also charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
The defendants claimed that Buckle, a video engineer and independent filmmaker, shouted anti-lesbian insults and attacked them first.
The jury was scheduled to resume deliberations on Wed., April 18.
Pitt St. knifing
Police arrested David Torres, 40, on Sat., April 7, in connection with the March 26 slashing of a man in a Pitt St. apartment. Torres was arguing with his girlfriend in her apartment at 100 Pitt St. shortly before midnight March 26 when her son, 20, interceded. Torres slashed the victims right arm and fled, police said. Torres was charged with second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was being held this week in lieu of $15,000 bail and is due to appear in court again on May 24.
Four sisters with a long-standing grudge against their upstairs neighbor at 344 E. 28th St. were arrested and charged with assaulting her in the lobby of the building at 8:30 p.m. Sat., April 7, police said
Allana Grant, 24; Christine Crosby, 20; April Kittrell, 18; and Quindaya Potter, 18, punched, kicked and whipped their neighbor with a belt when they waylaid her in the lobby, according to charges filed by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Two of the sisters had followed the victim from the subway station at E. 28th St. and Park Ave. S. and the other two were waiting in the lobby, according to the charges.
Aware that she was being followed, the victim called 911 on her cell phone. Police arrived at the building while the attack was going on and made the arrests.
All four were charged with assault and Grant was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon because she was carrying a box cutter during the incident, according to the District Attorneys Office. Grant was free on $1,500 bail and her sisters were free on their own recognizance pending court appearance July 25.
Federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on April 6 sentenced Salvatore Scala, 64, identified as a Gambino crime captain, to six years in prison and ordered him to forfeit $667,000 after his conviction of extortion and conspiracy to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from VIP Club, the strip club at 20 W. 20th St., beginning in the early 1990s.
Scalas co-defendant, Thomas Sassano, 61, also found guilty in the VIP Club extortion, will be sentenced July 23.
Scala initiated the extortion in the early 1990s, and after his arrest on another charge in 2000, he assigned Sassano to continue it, according to the charges. Scala paid part of his take as tribute to Peter Gotti, then boss of the Gambino family, the indictment says.
Two muggers punched, kicked and took $80 from a man, 38, at 5:30 a.m. Sat., April 7, on the northwest corner of Seventh Ave. at W. 19th St. Police arrested Leroy Nelson, 19, and Jason Bethea, 19, for robbery in connection with the incident.
A deal too good
A resident of W. 19th St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves. received a phone call about 6 p.m. Wed., April 4, from a woman acquaintance who said she inherited $2 million but needed immediate cash and would hand over the entire inheritance for a $600 check, police said. The victim gave the caller his bank information so that she could arrange the $2 million deposit, and the following morning two women he never met before knocked on his door, asked for the check and he handed it over. But by Monday afternoon April 10, the $2 million had not been deposited and the victim went to police to file charges of fraud.
Thieves broke into a construction trailer parked in front of 331 W. 14th St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves. on Sunday night April 9 and made off with power tools and equipment valued at $2,850, police said.