A Manhattan jury on Wed., April 18, convicted four young lesbian women of gang assault in the beating and knifing last Aug. 18 of a man outside the IFC Film Center on Sixth Ave. in the Village.
Lawyers for the four defendants had argued that their clients and three other young women who pleaded guilty in February and are serving six-month jail terms were attacked first by the victim. The lawyers said they would appeal the convictions.
Patreece Johnson, 19; Venice Brown, 18; Renata Hill, 24; and Terrain Dandridge, 19, all of Newark, were found guilty of gang assault on the victim, Dwayne Buckle, 29. Johnson was convicted of first- and second-degree gang assault for slashing Buckle with a knife but was acquitted of attempted murder. Brown, Hill and Dandridge were found guilty of second-degree assault. The jury rejected the defense that the attack was self-defense,
State Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin ordered the four to be held in jail pending a May 17 sentencing date. Johnson faces a five-to-25-year prison term, and the other three face jail terms of 42 months to 15 years.
Beaten and robbed
Police arrested two women and two men in connection with a 5:10 a.m. Sat., April 21, assault and robbery on Broadway at Astor Pl. The male victim, 37, confronted the two women, Krysta Dilbari, 18, and Antoinette Lilly, 17, and asked why they were kicking trash cans in front of Cozy Soup and Burger at 739 Broadway, police said. The two women and their male friends, Steven Alexander, 20, and Thomas Calvo, 19, kicked and hit the victim with a belt, knocked him to the ground and took his cell phone, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
The four were charged with first- and second-degree robbery and attempted gang assault. The D.A.s Office asked for $15,000 bail each, but the four were released on their own recognizance by a Criminal Court judge at the arraignment pending an April 26 court appearance.
Police arrested Joseph Guerra, 41, for the April 14 slashing of a man in the rear of the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D at E. 12th St. Guerra pleaded guilty to third-degree assault on April 20 and was sentenced to six months in jail, according to the office of D.A. Morgenthau. The slashing reportedly occurred after Guerra demanded that the victim pay a $20 debt.
Village club assault
Three men were arrested and charged with beating and stabbing two patrons inside the 49 Grove club in the Village at 2:10 a.m. Sat., April 14, according to the office of D.A. Morgenthau. Kreshnik Shalaj, 21, slashed a patron, 22, in the stomach and the left hand with a razor when the victim objected to Shalajs blowing smoke in his face. Two of Shalajs friends, Majkol Djeljevic, 20, and Dalibor Djeljevic, 25, then beat the victim and the victims 21-year-old friend, according to the D.A.s Office.
Shalaj was charged with second-degree assault and the two other defendants were charged with third-degree assault. All three were freed on their own recognizance pending a July 30 court appearance.
Shoves down officer
A street vendor being arrested for selling counterfeit trademarked merchandise on Canal St. and Broadway on Friday afternoon April 13, fled and pushed a pursuing policeman down a subway station stairway, police said. Kalidou Ba, 30, was arrested by a second officer and charged with second-degree assault and obstructing civil administration. He was freed on $10,000 bail pending a June 6 court appearance.
East River floater
A Department of Parks employee spotted the unidentified body of a woman floating in the East River off Grand St. at 11:30 a.m. Mon., April 23, police said. The Medical Examiners Office is investigating the cause of death.
The trial of Peter Braunstein, charged with arson, impersonating a firefighter and sexually abusing and imprisoning a woman in her Chelsea apartment on Halloween 2005, began Tues., April 24, with jury selection.
State Supreme Court Justice James Yates ruled on April 18 that Braunstein, 43, was physically and mentally able to assist in his own defense despite skull fractures sustained while being held in Rikers Island. Jail officials said the injuries were self-inflicted when Braunstein banged his head against a jail cell sink.
Braunstein has indicated he would seek acquittal by reason of insanity.
Timothy McDarrah, a Village resident and former writer for US Weekly who was convicted last December for an online attempt to solicit sex with an F.B.I. agent posing as a 13-year-old girl, was sentenced Fri., April 20, to six years in prison and four years of supervised release.
Federal Judge Paul Crotty also ordered McDarrah, 45, a former heroin addict, to undergo counseling in prison and to register as a sex offender. McDarrah apologized in court for his behavior.
McDarrah responded in June 2005 to a Craigslist ad placed by the F.B.I. offering freshest youngest girls, and after an exchange of e-mails offered to pay $200 for oral sex with a purported 13-year-old named Julie, according to the federal indictment. He was arrested at the location where the fake Julie had agreed to meet him.