A suspect has been arrested and charged with facilitating the 2012 execution-style killing of Brandon Woodard, a 31-year-old California law student, party promoter, and cocaine dealer. This is the first indictment in connection with the murder, which took place in broad daylight on 58th Street near 7th Avenue just before 2 p.m. on December 10th of that year.
Lloyd "Bay" McKenzie, 37, of Queens, was arrested Tuesday and subsequently charged with drug trafficking and weapon and substance possession in addition to second-degree murder. He is believed to have been driving the getaway car that transported Woodard's killer from the scene.
The actual shooter is still at large. According to police at the time of the incident, Woodard's killer walked up behind him and fired a single round into the back of his head at close range before fleeing in a waiting vehicle.
In the immediate aftermath of Woodard's death, it came out that the law student was a small-scale party promoter with a lengthy arrest record. Police began to investigate whether the murder may have been related to drug trafficking. Later that month, it was reported that investigators had traced Woodard to a group of west coast drug dealers who, around the time of Woodard's death, had been negotiating large sales with a group of drug dealers based in Queens.
"Three years ago, Brandon Woodard was murdered on a Midtown sidewalk in broad daylight," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in a statement. "This brazen shooting, stemming from a major interstate drug conspiracy, shocked and frightened many at the time."
According to today's indictment, McKenzie and Woodard allegedly met in person at various Manhattan hotels in the fall of 2012, where McKenzie paid Woodard in cash for kilos of cocaine. On December 8th of that year, Woodard texted one of his co-conspirators that McKenzie owed him $161,000. The next day he flew to NYC and checked into the Thompson Hotel at 6 Columbus Circle. McKenzie had one of his associates text Woodard to meet him near west 58th Street and 7th Avenue, allegedly so that Woodard could collect his missing payment.
Instead, when Woodard arrived, prosecutors say McKenzie's unnamed associate stepped out of a Lincoln Sedan and shot him in the head. McKenzie was behind the wheel, and sped from the scene with the shooter.
Jason Russo, McKenzie’s lawyer, told the Daily News that McKenzie was first approached in relation to the shooting three years ago, because the getaway car was leased to one of his acquaintances.
"He was fully cooperative then, and I think this case is just hearsay and speculation,” he told the tabloid. “There’s nothing concrete that ties him to the case. Frankly I’m surprised that after all these years they would bring this case.”
McKenzie was arraigned along with five codefendants, whose names have not been released. His next court appearance is set for March 15th.