A Brooklyn judge sentenced three gang members to prison on Wednesday for causing the tragic shooting death of an aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo during the pre-dawn J’ouvert festivities in Brooklyn three years ago.
“You have no idea the pain you caused this family,” said Aaron McNaughton, the younger brother of Carey Gabay, during his victim impact statement in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Gabay, a Harvard educated attorney, was 43 years old when he was shot in the head by a stray bullet during an early morning gang-related shootout at the 2015 J'Ouvert festivities in Crown Heights.
McNaughton, 35, was with Gabay celebrating their Jamaican culture when members of the gang Folk Nation got into a shootout with rival 8-Trey Crips on Bedford Avenue.
Two separate juries convicted Micah Alleyne, 26, Kenny Bazille, 33, and Stanley Elianor, 27, all members of Folk Nation, in July for causing the death of Gabay.
“I know it was you, Micah, who killed my brother,” said McNaughton as he stared coldly at the three men.
It’s unclear who fired the bullet that struck Gabay, and all three defendants were acquitted of murder charges. But they face lengthy prison time on the lesser charges. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice sentenced Alleyne to up to 30 years and Bazille to up to 25 years for second-degree manslaughter and weapons charges. Elianor, who according to his attorney suffers from bi-polar schizophrenia, was sentenced to seven years in prison for a reckless endangerment charge.
Bazille and Elianor are both two-time felony offenders with previous weapon convictions. All three men declined to give any statements.
“This is a tragedy on many levels, a loss for society, we no longer have a good man among us who engaged in public service, gave his talents to the community and was a role model to young people,” said Justice Del Giudice before rendering the maximum sentences.
Keith Luncheon, a rival 8-Trey Crips gang member, was acquitted of all charges after the 80 day trial. Tyshawn Crawford, a Hoodstarz gang member, became a cooperating witness in exchange for 14 years in prison.
Carey Gabay (NY Governor's Office)
“(They) killed my baby brother. My heart is broken and my soul is injured. How do I come back from that?” asked Stephanie Gabay-Smith, the oldest step-sister of Gabay, who is a practicing prosecutor from Georgia.
McNaughton scolded the three gang members for doing nothing for their community, stressing that Gabay and the men who killed him grew up in the same environment.
“We grew up in the projects together just like you, but we made difference choices,” said McNaughton.
Gabay’s mother Audrey Hilton told the judge during her victim impact statement that her son always wanted to be a lawyer and was excited when he joined the Cuomo administration after working in the private sector for 15 years.
“I raised my boys not to grow up in criminal activities like these boys...I couldn’t be more proud of my son Carey, his life was cut short at the age of 43,” Hilton said ofGabay, who was the first black student body president at Harvard University.
Gabay spent nine days in a coma before being taken off life support. During that time, his widow Trenelle Gabay harvested his sperm and subsequently gave birth to their only child this June.
“Thanks to God and modern day science, Trenelle gave birth to my grandson,” said Hilton as she broke down into tears in court, adding, “My son will never experience fatherhood.”
Trenelle, 40, held back tears as she spoke about being a single mother.
“I will raise my son as a single mother. My son will learn about his father through stories that will also include this conviction...The wounds of my heart will be eternal,” said Trenelle.
McNaughton assured the court he will be as pivotal a factor in his nephew’s life as Gabay was for him.
“I will bestow the same morals, principles and ethics to my baby nephew as Carey instilled upon me,” said McNaughton.