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Turkmenistan citizen sentenced to 15 years to life for robbery and murder of Brooklyn shopkeeper

March 4, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez recently announced that a citizen of the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison following his guilty plea to robbery and murder for beating a Brighton Beach shopkeeper to death during a 2009 robbery. 

After the attack, the defendant ultimately fled to Australia, where he was detained before his extradition to the United States, after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Abakar Gadiyev, 40, a citizen of Turkmenistan who was living in Brighton Beach at the time of the incident. He was sentenced Thursday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice to 15 years to life in prison. Gadiyev pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree robbery on December 9, 2021.

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Gonzalez said that, according to the investigation, on March 14, 2009 at approximately 2:26 p.m. Gadiyev and indicted alleged co-conspirator Arsen Bashirov, 40, ambushed the victim, Vladislav Tolstykh, inside a parking garage on Brighton 11th Street near the Brighton Beach Bazaar, a grocery store that the victim co-owned and managed. 

The defendants allegedly beat the 34-year-old victim to death and ran off with a pouch containing $32,000 in cash, paychecks and luxury watches.

Investigators recovered ski masks and sweatshirts the perpetrators used to conceal themselves and discarded as they fled. Forensic analysis of those items of clothing found they contained the DNA of the victim and two males. 

Additionally, investigators reviewed surveillance video that showed the suspects enter the parking garage wearing sweatshirts and ski masks prior to the victim’s arrival. Surveillance video also captured them running from the garage carrying the victim’s property.

The suspects allegedly fled the country to their native Turkmenistan a few days after the homicide. Gadiyev then traveled to Australia, where he sought asylum without disclosing his involvement in the homicide to Australian authorities.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese

NYPD detectives coordinated with Australian police to obtain a DNA sample from the defendant on April 11, 2013. Local authorities in Sydney, Australia, collected an abandoned can of Red Bull that Gadiyev left behind. It contained a DNA sample that positively matched the DNA that police recovered from the defendant’s discarded clothing items near the crime scene.

Gadiyev was indicted by a grand jury in October 2013. Australian authorities detained him in 2014 while he awaited extradition to the United States. In December 2018, the Australian attorney general determined that Gadiyev could be surrendered to the United States. He was returned to New York on Feb. 1, 2019.

Gadiyev’s co-defendant, Arsen Bashirov, remains in Turkmenistan, which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “For nearly 13 years, the family and friends of Vladislav Tolstykh have waited for this defendant to be brought to justice. Today’s sentence holds him accountable for brutally and ruthlessly beating this innocent shopkeeper to death.”

The District Attorney thanked Detective Peter McMahon of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad; Inspector David El-Badawi of the New South Wales Police Department in Sydney; members of the Australian Federal Police; members of the NYPD Intelligence Division; and members of the United States Marshal Service for their assistance in this investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Andy Palacio, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau. Homicide paralegal Meghan Brancato assisted with the case.

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