Today’s news:

Man gets 25 years to life for Jamaica cabbie death

Jerome Mitchell, 37, was convicted in May of robbing and killing Elhadji Gaye as he returned to his Jamaica home in 1996 and was sentenced to the prison term Monday in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens, the district attorney said.

"The defendant has now been held accountable for ending violently the life of Elhadji Gaye, who was a 44-year-old working man, husband and father," Brown said in a statement. "I hope the Gaye family finds solace knowing that the defendant has received the maximum penalty for his terrible crime."

According to trial testimony, Mitchell and his accomplice, Coy Huggins of Brooklyn, watched as Gaye, 44, drove his 1994 Jeep Cherokee into the driveway of his Foch Boulevard home March 24, 1996, Brown said. The two men approached the vehicle from behind. As Gaye got out of the Jeep, Mitchell shot him once in the face with a .38-caliber semi-automatic pistol, the district attorney said.

Mitchell and Huggins fled in Gaye's Cherokee.

Mitchell was arrested on an unrelated crime in Virginia in August 2000 and later charged in Gaye's murder, Brown said. DNA analysis linked Mitchell to a hair recovered from inside a hat left at the Jamaica crime scene, the DA said.

Mitchell was convicted of murder, robbery, weapons possession and tampering with physical evidence May 20 after a non-jury trial before State Supreme Court Judge Robert Hanophy. Hanophy imposed the 25-year prison sentence Monday, Brown said.

Huggins was arrested by Queens police officers two weeks after the 1996 shooting while driving a car that had just been reported stolen from Brooklyn, the district attorney said. He pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Brown said.

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

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