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Brooklyn man convicted of murder at LIC car service company

June 4, 2013 Staff Report

A Brooklyn man has been convicted of murder in the slaying of a 62-year-old livery cab driver that occurred during an attempted armed robbery in January 2010 in Long Island City.

The defendant and the victim had worked together at the same Long Island City car service.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “The victim in this case was a hard-working New Yorker.  His death was senseless and shocking, motivated by the basest of emotions – greed – and committed by a colleague.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Gregory Johnson, 36, of 177 Quincy Street in Brooklyn. Johnson was convicted yesterday of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree attempted robbery, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and tampering with physical evidence following a three-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis.  Johnson, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2, 2013.

A second defendant charged in the case, Auther D. Lattan, 25, whose last known address is 555 Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn, is presently awaiting trial on charges of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree attempted robbery, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and tampering with physical evidence.  Lattan also faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

District Attorney Brown said that, according to trial testimony, Johnson – and it is alleged Lattan – were wearing ski masks and gloves at approximately 11:30 p.m. on January 8, 2010, when they arrived at the business offices of Crosslands Corporate Transportation located at 35-144 11th Street and approached a car service vehicle containing driver Jaroslaw Bielawski, 62, of Brooklyn, and rear passenger and car service company owner Mamadouh Elsayed whom Bielawski was about to drive home.  Johnson approached the driver’s front window and motioned for Bielawski to roll down the window.

Instead, Bielawski attempted to drive off and Johnson pulled out a handgun and fired three rounds into the vehicle, the first of which shattered the driver’s side front window and struck Bielawski in the brain, causing his death. Immediately following the shooting, Johnson – and allegedly Lattan – fled in separate directions.

District Attorney Brown said that forensic evidence introduced at trial  allegedly revealed that DNA samples recovered from one of the gloves abandoned at the crime scene matched Lattan’s DNA. Johnson was taken into custody following Lattan’s arrest on April 21, 2010.

Johnson, who had been on a leave of absence from Crosslands, returned to work less than two weeks after the murder.

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