A federal judge sentenced a 24-year-old Brooklyn man to spend more than two decades in prison for the broad daylight murder of man last year that prosecutors say was fueled by the defendant’s greed.
Rayshawn “Smooth” Demosthene pleaded guilty in December murdering Michael Morris on a Brooklyn street as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 244 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
According to the indictment, Demosthene and co-defendant Jammar “Panama” Lipsett conspired to kill Morris in order to steal about $30,000 in cash, which was to be used to buy drugs.
“Murder, no matter what the circumstances, can never be tolerated in a civilized society,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill.
Demosthene made arrangements to meet Morris, who lived in Virginia at the time of his murder, in New York for what Morris believed to be a $30,000 drug deal. However, Demosthene never intended to sell any drugs to Morris and the entire ordeal was nothing more than a ruse.
As Morris sat in a vehicle that was parked on a residential street in Brooklyn, waiting to engage in the transaction, Demosthene walked up to the vehicle and opened fire, fatally striking Morris in the head. Demosthene then took Morris’ money.
“The defendant and his co-conspirators committed a cold-blooded, ambush murder of the victim in order to steal money the victim intended to use to purchase narcotics. In the process, they turned the streets into a shooting gallery, endangering the lives of any number of innocent bystanders,” said ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan M. Benedict. “This investigation highlights the ever-present danger of violence that goes along with the narcotics trade, and how invariably that violence plays out on the streets.”
Lipsett’s trial is ongoing.