Queens resident Shaun Martin, who prosecutors say was drunk and high on PCP when he plowed his car into East Village Farm and Grocery on Second Avenue on June 19, 2013, which led to the death of florist Mohammed Akkas Ali, was found guilty of murder today.
He faces up to life in prison. He is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 21.
Here's the statement from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.:
MARTIN was convicted following a bench trial in New York State Supreme Court of all of the charges against him, including Murder in the Second Degree, Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, and Assault and Reckless Endangerment in the First Degrees, among other charges.
“Shaun Martin turned a vehicle into a murder weapon the morning he took the wheel while impaired by drugs,” said District Attorney Vance. “In doing so, he chose to endanger the lives of every New Yorker he encountered that day. As proven at trial, he acted with depraved indifference to human life, directly causing the death of Mohammed Akkas Ali and seriously injuring two of his coworkers. He never touched the brakes as he hurtled through the East Village. I would like to thank the Judge for her careful deliberation of this case, and hope this conviction serves to deter those who would be so devoid of care for the lives of their fellow New Yorkers.”
As proven at trial, at approximately 6:50 a.m. on June 19, 2013, MARTIN sped through the East Village in a white Nissan Altima, driving more than 50 miles per hour, while impaired by both phencyclidine, commonly referred to as PCP, and methamphetamine. Cutting across three lanes of traffic, MARTIN drove onto the sidewalk and struck a fire hydrant, a pay phone, a muni-meter, and a tree, before crashing the car into a flower stand attached to the East Village Farm and Grocery Store on the corner of East 4th Street and Second Avenue. MARTIN struck three of the store’s employees, including Mohammed Akkas Ali, who died as a result of injuries he suffered from the crash. A man riding a bicycle was also injured by debris from the crash.
SHAUN MARTIN, D.O.B. 4/7/1981
• Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, 1 count
• Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, a class B felony, 2 counts
• Assault in the First Degree, a class B felony, 2 counts
• Aggravated Vehicular Assault, a class C felony, 4 counts
• Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
• Driving While Ability Impaired By Drugs, a class E felony, 2 counts
• Driving While Ability Impaired By Combination of Drugs and Alcohol, a class E felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count
• Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count
Martin's attorney argued Ali's death "was not caused by Martin's terrifying collision ... but because his breathing tube had been knocked out and he could not be revived" at the health-care facility he was in, according to the Daily News.
Previously on EV Grieve:
[Updated] Car smashes into East Village Farm & Grocery on Second Avenue; 6 reported injured
Crowdsourcing campaign for injured East Village Farm and Grocery worker raises nearly $19,000
Report: Injured East Village Farm and Grocery florist has lost his memory, use of his voice
[Updated] RIP Akkas Ali