Three Dominicans could be executed in the US after Trump reinstated death penalty

NEW YORK. – Three Dominicans Andrés Fernández (Andy), Humberto Pepín Taveras (Tony) and Gilberto Gil Caraballo, who used the names of Anthony Rodriguez and Carlos, could be executed in the United States, with the options of the electric chair, the camera of gas and lethal injection, depending on in which states the death penalty is executed against them.

The possibility that the three of them go to the Death Pavilion, while former Arizona player Fabio Gomez waits to be executed in a Texas jail, gained strength last week when President Donald Trump ordered the Justice Department to restore the capital punishment, a measure that is being faced by civil rights defenders, anti-execution groups and congressmen such as Dominican Adriano Espaillat.

Fernández, Pepín Taveras and Caraballo were convicted separately for crimes of first-degree murders linked to drug trafficking, hired killers and an armed robbery in which Fernández, according to prosecutors, murdered a renowned Italian-born merchant in Brooklyn.

All were prosecuted on different dates in the Federal Court of the Eastern District in Brooklyn (New York), where prosecutors who represented the United States Government, asked the judges sentenced to capital punishment.

But by then, the death sentence had already been suspended by the Supreme Court, a decision that lasted 20 years, until Trump reversed it.

Prosecutors in the Federal District Court of the Eastern District based in Brooklyn, asked for the death penalty to execute Fernandez, accused of shooting the co-owner of the “Spumoni Gardens” pizzeria, Louis Barbati, whom he killed during a robbery attempt Failed on June 30, 2016, he was arrested on November 3, 2017. Federal prosecutors said that the aggravating circumstances of the act committed by Fernández, is a federal crime to which the death penalty is applied in the gas chamber or by lethal injection.

Avrom Robin, the lawyer who originally represented him during his appearance, was excluded from the case and replaced by jurist Steven Brounstein, a veteran specialist in cases of eligible death sentences.

Fernandez murdered Barbati, who was said to be a member of the Mafia, in front of his house in the Dyker Heights area of ​​Brooklyn, when he was carrying a loaf of bread and $ 15,000 in cash.

Fernandez, fled without being able to steal the money, according to the file.

It was recorded in a video of a surveillance camera that captured him by killing Barbati and his cell phone was tracked to the scene and out of the Gravesend neighborhood that same day, federal prosecutors said.

He was convicted of conspiracy, first-degree murders for the killings of José Rosario and Carlos Madrid, and hired killers, linked to the drug trafficking business he led.

Federal prosecutors call him a “ruthless butcher.”

He was convicted by the federal jury in the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn, for two voluntary killings against two rivals in drug gangs, criminal possession of firearms, conspiracy, laundering and illegally re-entering the United States, and the prosecution asked the death penalty to be executed with lethal injection.

The trial was conducted by veteran federal judge Jack Brand Weinstein, who agreed with prosecutors as to which penalty they had a legitimate right to request, although an appeal court rejected before the trial that the prosecution included a case of rape to a minor committed and admitted in a letter that Taveras Pepín sent to a Yonkers detective from the jail in which he provides details about the crime against the girl who is only identified in the court papers by the last name Méndez.

According to the magistrate who had been in office for 58 years and withdrew but was required by the Department of Justice to lead that trial, “the history of capital punishment in New York opens a small chance that Mr. Pepín Taveras can be executed” .

Despite hundreds of motions filed by defense lawyer Lou Freeman representing the Dominican to prevent the court from approving the petition for execution, the magistrates decided that it is admissible given the evidence available to the prosecution and the character of future high danger of Pepín Taveras that would continue to be if I let him live and be back on the streets, a serious threat to public safety and the lives of others.

Among the prosecutors’ allegations, the long criminal record of Pepín Taveras was presented, who was sentenced in 1997 in the Supreme Court of El Bronx for kidnapping, sodomy and rape against Méndez.

He served only 9 months in jail and was deported to the Dominican Republic. In its file signed with the number 04-CR-156, it is explained that after being repatriated, the Creole returned illegally to the United States, returning to drug trafficking, to the underworld, to organized crime and subsequently committed the murders against Rosario and Madrid.

At first, after killing him, he dismembered him by throwing away the remains of the body on the Tibbets Brooks River in Yonkers, a suburb that borders El Bronx County. For that crime he was charged in the federal court of Weschester County and sentenced by Judge Barbara Zambelli. His presentation in court occurred in July 2003, in which he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Another of his victims was the African-American Jonathan Bandler whom he also dismembered. After killing Madrid, Pepín Taveras, put the body inside the dead man’s car and set it on fire in a desolate area of ​​Queens.

In several motions, prosecutors insisted that the United States Government be allowed to request the death penalty against the Dominican on the grounds that they have as support for their evidence an aggravating factor status and dangerous future criminality.

The first notice about the intention to ask for the death penalty was submitted to the court on October 20, 2005 and after submitting several others, prosecutors said clearly that the Government will continue to seek the death penalty in the case of Pepín Taveras.

The conviction of Caraballo (Tony) was issued after a long trial in which the Government requested, but did not obtain, death sentences for the murders of José Fernández and Eduardo Cortés.

Caraballo was accused of killing Fernandez while committing a crime punishable under article 841 (b) (1) (A) of Title 21 of the United States Code, specifically, a conspiracy to distribute five kilos or more of cocaine and fifty grams or more of crack, which makes it eligible to be executed.

Caraballo’s lawyers do not question the sufficiency of the evidence that supports his conviction about the underlying narcotics conspiracy, nor could they do so.

The evidence overwhelmingly showed that between January 1989 and December 2001, Caraballo and several accomplices, including Quincy Martínez, Martín Aguilar, Armando Molina and Eric Rosario, conspired to own and distribute large amounts of cocaine and crack.

The evidence also showed that Caraballo was the conspiracy wholesale supplier, which provided drugs through direct sales or consignment (credit) to his accomplices, who sold and organized the sale of narcotics in the streets, mainly in the neighborhood of Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

Among the people to whom Caraballo supplied drugs was Molina, who repeatedly employed Martínez, Rosario and Fernández as micro dealers at street level. After a fight with Molina, Caraballo began supplying drugs to Fernández on consignment.

Caraballo also supplied drugs on credit to co-defendant Aguilar and Aguilar’s accomplice, Jeffrey Taylor.

Caraballo stopped supplying Aguilar with drugs in September 2000 after Aguilar did not pay his debts and, together with Taylor, robbed one of Caraballo’s drug accomplices, and murdered him.

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