State court denies shooter’s appeal in Wendy’s case

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Craig Godineaux, the accomplice and shooter convicted of killing five people in the 2000 Flushing Wendy’s massacre, lost his appeal last week and will spend the rest of his life in prison, a spokesman for the Queens County district attorney said.

His defense attorney reviewed the case and determined that it was not worthy of further appeal, after which Godineaux represented himself in an attempt to appeal his life sentence. Early last week, Godineaux’s life sentence was upheld in the state Supreme Court of Queens County in Kew Gardens, a spokesman for the district attorney said.

He was sentenced to life in prison in February 2001 after pleading guilty to shooting five of the workers at the Main Street eatery in a systematic, execution-style shooting. He is described as mentally challenged.

Godineaux, 30, of Jamaica, was the accomplice of John Taylor, 36, of Lefrak City, the convicted mastermind of the plan who received the death sentence for the killings and is awaiting his appeal.

“The Wendy’s massacre was among the worst crimes ever to be committed in Queens County,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Today’s decision closes the book as to one of those responsible for that terrible crime and assures that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Godineaux and Taylor, an ex-Wendy’s employee, entered the restaurant around closing time on May 24, 2000 and announced a robbery.

The workers were brought into the basement, where they were tied up with bags over their heads, prosecutors said. Five people were shot and killed in the attack: Anita Smith, 22, of South Jamaica; Jeremy Mele, 18, of Neptune, N.J.; Ramon Nazario, 44, of Flushing; Ali Ibadat, 40, of Ridgewood; and Jean Auguste, 27, of Brooklyn.

Just last week, an attorney for the families of Smith, Mele and Nazario said the families are appealing the dismissal of their $300 million civil suit filed against the city and Wendy’s International Inc.

Their suit was dismissed on the grounds that statutes of limitations had passed and worker’s compensation was sufficient to subsidize the damages for the families’ losses.

The district attorney’s office said Taylor’s death sentence is still in the appeals process. Godineaux’s case is closed.

“Justice has, indeed, been done,” Brown said.

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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