Subway firebug gets 7 years for robbery, torching booth with worker inside
A Crown Heights man with 14 previous convictions was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday for attempted robbery after he torched a Brooklyn subway booth, leaving a worker in the gasoline-filled kiosk for almost an hour.
A supportive group of members from the Transport Workers Union showed up at Brooklyn Supreme Court to watch Everett Robinson get sentenced, hoping for a long prison term.
“He should have had a life sentence or at least 20 years,” Vice President of Stations Derrick Echevarria said outside the courtroom. “So this was a step in the right direction, but we’re still not satisfied by any means.”
Robinson, 52, poured gasoline into the transaction slot of a subway booth at the Nostrand Avenue 3 station in Crown Heights last summer while worker Percillia Augustine-Soverall watched from inside.
“Let me get the money or I’ll light you up,” he said, according to court documents.
Robinson then lit up a folded shirt but dropped it as it caught fire.
He was caught by police when he tried fleeing from the smoke-filled station.
The kiosk’s fire-extinguishing system prevented flames from engulfing the booth, but Augustine-Soverall was left inhaling gasoline fumes for almost an hour before she was let out, John Mooney, chairman of the union, said.
She did not suffer any injuries, according to court documents.
Mooney estimated the booth had about $3,000 to $4,000 inside.
Assistant District Attorney Justin Marrus asked Robinson if he still acknowledged his guilt.
“I did it,” Robinson said, slowly raising his voice. “I admit my guilt.”
Augustine-Soverall was not able to attend court but her union members represented her with shirts that read, “Stand as 1.”
Marrus added that Augustine-Soverall “found forgiveness” for Robinson, who kept his head down for the majority of the sentencing.
Mooney told the Brooklyn Eagle that management at the station “overlooked safety issues,” when it allegedly told Augustine-Soverall to stay in the booth after it was filled with gasoline.
But MTA spokesman, Kevin Ortiz, said there was “no indication,” that management told Augstine-Soverall to remain in the booth.
“Any act of violence against one of our workers is completely unacceptable,” Ortiz said. “We are glad that the perpetrator of this crime will be spending the next seven years behind bars.”
Echevarria told reporters there were not members of management at the court.
Robinson pleaded guilty to attempted robbery on July 11.
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