East New York

Queens man gets 20 years for pizzeria stabbing, victim’s family forgives

August 28, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Juan Rosa, right, with his attorney, Terence Sweeney in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Eagle photos by Paul Frangipane.

A 23-year-old man, who was sentenced to two decades in prison on Monday, was forgiven in court by family members of the 18-year-old he stabbed to death.

Juan Rosa pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter after he stabbed Dashawn Cameron in the chest while four others beat Cameron inside a Domino’s Pizza on Pitkin Avenue in East New York on Nov. 11, 2014.

Cameron’s aunt, Laniece Jennings, spoke for the family of the deceased in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday.

“These last couple years have been so hard for the family,” Jennings said through tears, stopping to wipe her eyes as she pushed her glasses up her face. “My heart is telling me to hate this young man. I want to hate him, but I can’t.”

Beverly Cameron, the victim’s mother, did not speak publicly in court but said in court halls that she was glad the case came to an end.

Rosa, wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit and multiple sets of rosary beads, turned to Cameron’s family members and apologized while looking them in the eyes.

“You have all rights to hate me,” Rosa told the family. “It was a fight that went wrong. I apologize. I mean that.”

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The fight broke out around 9:40 p.m. nearly three years ago, when the five men began punching and kicking Cameron in the pizza shop. It ended quickly with Rosa’s knife, resulting in three men behind bars and one man with a fatal stab to the heart, according to court documents.

It is unclear what started the fight.

Michael Gibbs, 28, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for manslaughter, although he did not stab Cameron.

Rakiem Smith, 24, pleaded guilty to assault in the case and is currently serving one year in prison.

Confessions in front of police by Cameron and video surveillance showed him to be the killer.

The victim’s aunt said in the court halls that youth violence needs to stop.

“Mothers are losing their kids,” Jennings said. “These kids are getting younger every day.”

According to a report by the Big Roundtable, East New York has had some of the highest crime and arrest rates in New York City for the last 20 years. As the report details, averaging from 2000-2013, about 1,059 felonies were committed in all other precincts while East New York averaged 2,622 felonies a year.

Two of the men in the fight have yet to be arrested.

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