Today’s news:

Springfield Gardens man sentenced in newlywed slay

Lenwood "Smoke" Evans, 26, of 134-35 166th Place, was sentenced to the maximum jail term in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens April 14, a month after he was convicted of shooting Kimberly John, 22, outside her apartment on 204th Street, Brown said.

John was shot twice in the head and once in the chest at 2:30 a.m. March 14, 2001 in the parking lot outside her Holliswood cooperative apartment building. Her newlywed husband, Billy Cooper, of Hollis, was convicted last month of telling Evans to kill John, Brown said.

"The defendant has been held accountable for his actions and will now serve a lengthy prison sentence for a senseless murder," Brown said in a statement. "The victim was a young woman whose life was cut short by gunfire. I hope that the family of Kimberly John finds comfort knowing that justice has been done."

Cooper, 31, a former group home aide, and John, a customer service representative with Verizon, were married Feb. 5, 2001, but the relationship quickly fell apart and John kicked Cooper out of her co-op apartment 10 days after the wedding, according to trial testimony.

Prosecutors said Cooper was enraged that John threw him out and refused to take him back.

In the weeks that followed, John tried to avoid Cooper, but he persisted in calling her and even threatened her a number of times, Assistant District Attorney Jack Warsawsky said during the trial.

On March 14, 2001, Cooper and Evans convinced John to meet them outside her building. When she pulled into the parking lot, Evans shot her three times, Brown said.

Evans told police that Cooper made him shoot John and threatened to kill him if he did not.

A jury of seven men and five women deliberated for 2 1/2 days after the three-week trial in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens before returning the guilty verdict on charges of murder and weapons possession. The conviction was handed down a day after the third anniversary of the shooting.

Cooper was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life March 4. Frederick Hamlet, who was with Evans and Cooper at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty in July to tampering with evidence in the case and was awaiting sentencing.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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