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Brooklynite convicted in beating death of Flushing man

A jury found a Brooklyn man guilty of the murder of a Flushing man who was bludgeoned to death with a cobblestone as he returned to his apartment building after a long night of work in a Manhattan restaurant.

Shamell Solomon, 21, of Brooklyn was found guilty of murder and burglary in the courtroom of State Supreme Court Judge Robert C. Kohm on Oct. 9.

The jury deliberating on Solomon’s fate could not reach a decision on a count of manslaughter, and the district attorney decided to drop the charge.

Solomon, who faces a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, is the second man to be convicted in the death of Jing Rim Lee, who was killed in the lobby of his apartment building at 35-07 147th St. in the early hours of Sept. 23, 2000.

In January, Laquan Stowe, 17, of East Harlem, pleaded guilty to killing Lee, a Korean restaurant worker. He could be sentenced to seven years to life.

According to the criminal complaint, Solomon and Stowe followed Lee into the lobby of his apartment building after Lee was returning from a night of work at a restaurant in Manhattan. Stowe smashed a 10-pound paving stone over Lee’s head while Solomon rummaged through Lee’s pockets, leaving Lee only with a MetroCard, the complaint said.

Lee was found by the building’s superintendent and rushed to the hospital, where he died three days later from brain injuries.

“The crime was vicious and deadly and took the life of a hardworking family man,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a news release.

A camera in the lobby filmed the attack. The video showed someone lifting the stone with two hands but not the actual strike.

Police produced sketches of two individuals wearing doo-rags from the videotape. The drawings led to the arrests of Solomon and Stowe eight months after the killing.

Because the graffiti tag of an El Salvadorian gang was found near the site of the attack, police initially thought the murder might have been a gang initiation rite.

As the sole provider for the household, Lee’s death left his immigrant family without means to pay the rent. The four children worked odd jobs to help their diabetic mother, Moung Sun, but their income was still not enough.

The Lees received help from two non-profit organizations, Asian-Americans for Equality and The Bridge Fund, to find a new apartment in East Elmhurst for the family and help pay their rent. The youngest daughter, Sung Sin, enrolled at Barnard College in September 2001.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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