In the first week that grand juries were empaneled since March, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez wasted no time in indicting 36 individuals, he announced on Wednesday.
The 36 people, who were all previously held on bail or remanded, were involved in all sorts of alleged activities including homicides, gang shootings, attempted murder, rape and other serious felonies.
“With the resumption of grand juries, we are able to redouble our efforts at fighting violent crime in Brooklyn,” Gonzalez said. “The dozens of indictments we obtained over the past week ensure that dangerous offenders remain in custody as we seek to bring them to justice.”DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWSNews for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond
The grand juries were empaneled beginning on Aug. 11 for the first time since March 16, and they have heard cases every day since then. The Supreme Court, Criminal Term, headed by Administrative Judge Matthew D’Amico, has prioritized cases involving people accused of violent felonies, including homicides and shootings.
One of the people indicted over the past week was Charles Hernandez, who was accused of disguising himself in a coat, a long blond wig and a surgical mask when he allegedly shot two people to death in East New York on June 27, 2020, according to prosecutors. Hernandez was later apprehended in West Virginia and was charged with first-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Another person charged with murder was Marcus Worrell, a 24-year-old who was on parole for an unrelated robbery conviction when he allegedly shot one person to death and wounded another inside a Brownsville deli on June 5, 2020.
Among those charged with gang-related shootings was Olayinka Babatunde, who allegedly shot two bystanders in Flatbush in September 2019 in a murder attempt on another individual. Three others were charged in gang-related cases, including one involving a person who was involved in a shootout in a housing development courtyard on the 4th of July.
The DA’s Homicide Bureau indicted 14 of the defendants, the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau indicted 11, and the Special Victims and Trial bureaus accounted for the rest. More indictments are expected in the coming days.
According to NYPD statistics, in the year 2020 through Aug. 9, there have been 358 shooting incidents and 94 murders. In the same time span in 2019, there were 177 shooting incidents and 58 murders.