A judge in Brooklyn on Friday, May 17 sentenced a Brooklyn youth to 17 1/3 years in jail for killing a 22-year-old college student just before the Caribbean J’Ouvert festival in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn began in 2016.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo imposed the stiff sentence on Reginald Moise, 20, for shooting in the head, on September 5, 2016, at point-blank range, Tiarah Poyau, a graduate student in accounting at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens.
Poyau died after she was taken to the nearby Kings County Hospital in Central Brooklyn.
Police said Moise was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, but jurors found him guilty of criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment and weapons possession in Poyau’s shooting death. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder.
“This is the most tragic case I’ve ever come across,” said Justice Leo before imposing the sentence on Moise. “In one selfish act of idiocy, you destroyed the incredibly bright future of a promising young woman.”
The victim’s family had pleaded with Justice Leo to sentence Moise to consecutive — no concurrent — sentences, as Moise’s lawyers had requested.
“Criminally negligent homicide is a slap in the face your honor,” Poyau’s mother, Valerie Brown, told the court before Moise’s sentence. “It’s really an insult, not just to me but to my whole entire family. Please, I beg of you, please see fit to give him the maximum that is allowed for each charge.”
Before he was taken away in handcuffs, Moise apologized to the victim’s family.
“I’m sorry to Ms. Brown and the Poyau family for all stuff y’all have been going through,” he told the court.
After the sentence, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement that “this defendant fired four shots during what was a joyous cultural celebration, tragically killing Tiarah Poyau, a completely innocent bystander with a promising life ahead of her.
“It is a miracle that no one else was struck,” he added. “Today’s sentence delivered a measure of justice for Tiarah’s heartbroken mother, family and many friends, and a clear message that gun violence will not be tolerated at J’ouvert.”
In recent years, the Caribbean J’ouvert festival — which precedes the annual West Indian Day Carnival Parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway, considered the largest carnival parade in North America — has been plagued with violence.
In September 2015, Carey Gabay, 43, a Jamaican former legal aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was shot in the head in a crossfire. He was walking home when gunfire erupted between two rival gangs outside the Ebbets Field Houses in Crown Heights during the Caribbean J’ouvert celebration on Labor Day, the first Monday in September. Labor Day is celebrated as a public holiday in America.
In July last year, a 12-member jury found two men not guilty in Gabay’s shooting death, but jurors found one man, Micah Alleyne, 26, guilty of manslaughter.
Alleyne, of Jamaica, Queens, was also found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon, while Stanley Elianor, 27, of Brooklyn, was convicted of reckless endangerment.
Earlier in July 2016, a Brooklyn Supreme Court jury acquitted another defendant, Keith Luncheon, of Brooklyn, of all charges – murder, manslaughter, weapons possession and reckless endangerment — in Gabay’s death.
But, during the same week, the jury convicted another Brooklyn defendant, Kenny Bazile, 33, of second-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon. He was cleared of the murder charge.
Bazile was the sixth man charged with the Gabay’s murder.
In June 2016, Tyshawn Crawford, 22, of East New York, Brooklyn was indicted for murder and related charges for his alleged role in the shooting.
Gabay, the first deputy general counsel at a state economic development agency, “was an inspiring public servant whose life was cut short by senseless gun violence,” said Cuomo in a statement.
Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez, who traces his roots to Puerto Rico, said: “We have made a promise to the family of Carey Gabay to hold accountable everyone who took part in the shootout that took his life.”