Flatbush man gets 2 1/2 years for shooting

May 15, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Judge Jack B. Weinstein. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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A 25-year-old father of three was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on Monday for shooting six times down Newkirk Avenue at the corner of Newkirk and East 25 Street in Flatbush.

Murray Lawrence sat next to four family members, including his mother holding his 1-year-old son, as Judge Jack B. Weinstein sat across from them in Brooklyn’s Federal Court, deciding the term of his sentence.

“[This is a] very difficult case,” Weinstein said while looking down at a book of court documents. “The critical question on the table is … whether there can be a reintegration to the family.”

The mother of Lawrence’s son dropped the baby off at court 20 minutes before the sentencing and left for a doctor’s appointment. Lawrence’s other two children, 4 and 6, born to another mother, did not attend.

“I’m disturbed that the wife isn’t here,” Weinstein said. “The 4-year-old and the 6-year-old who are able to show affection are not here. There’s no family.”

Lawrence’s attorney, Samuel Jacobson of the Federal Defenders, argued that he had been taking care of his family while out on bail for around 18 months.

“I think it’s important, the fact that he spent the 18 months out on bail. [He is] a good father,” Jacobson said, referring to letters by family and community members supporting Lawrence. “I’ve never seen a case with this many letters.”

Lawrence, who had previously been convicted of criminal possession of a weapon on Oct. 12, 2012 at Brooklyn Supreme Court, was caught on NYPD video surveillance with another man at 10:03 p.m. on June 12, 2015, pulling guns out of their waistbands and firing down the street.

“This is not a case about a 15-year-old who stole a loaf of bread,” Federal Prosecutor Allon Lifshitz said to Weinstein. “He was running wild in the streets. He didn’t care about his children when he was running around trying to murder people.”

The surveillance video shows Lawrence shooting six times and hitting the man in front of him in the back four times. Lawrence and the man entered SUNY Downstate Medical Center for the man’s gunshot wounds, three in his left shoulder and one in his left arm. Lawrence was then arrested at the hospital and the man was transferred to Kings County Hospital.

Lifshitz argued for the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. “The most important factor is to protect the community from being murdered,” Lifshitz said. “As soon as he is released, he will do the same thing.”

Lawrence said in court that he intends to enroll at Brooklyn College after his release for a degree in business and management.


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