Jamaica man faces 50 years to life for murder

Danny Williams sits in a Queens courtroom awaiting sentencing for the murder of Roshawan Tate and attempted murder of Mark Belizaire. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
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A Jamaica man who was arrested after appearing on “America’s Most Wanted” was sentenced last week to 50 years to life in prison for the murder of a Queens man and the attempted murder of another in 2002, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

It was just after midnight on May 28, 2002, when Williams, armed with a shotgun, and co-defendant Reginald Artis, who was 21 at the time and armed with a handgun, approached the two victims near the corner of 87th Road and 148th Street, Brown said, citing trial testimony.

The two men opened fire on 22-year-old Roshawan Tate and then 21-year-old Mark Belizaire, both of whom were hit by the shotgun, and then fled the scene, Brown said.

Tate was hit in the back as he fled for his life and died at the scene from his wounds, and Belizaire was struck in both his torso and legs, causing nerve damage that has resulted in his being permanently disabled, according to the district attorney.

Williams and Artis had been robbed earlier in the day and they thought Tate and Belizaire, while not the robbers, had somehow been involved, Brown said.

“America’s Most Wanted” aired Williams’ story in September 2006 and again in January 2009, and after police received a tip he was arrested in Jackson, N.J., in July 2010.

According to the show, the police found Williams, who goes by the nickname D-Knife and was known to be a fledgling pimp, while investigating a child sodomy case.

Williams’ trail had gone cold, but the NYPD discovered he was still in the area when they found his fingerprints on an elevator in a low-income housing area they were investigating.

The cops got information that their suspect was visiting a friend in New Jersey and put the area under surveillance. The NYPD Fugitive Task Force and local police raided the Jackson home where Williams was staying, and he was taken without a fight in July 2010, according to the show.

Williams was indicted in Queens in 2004 and convicted last month of second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

He was sentenced to 50 years to life plus an additional sentence of 1 1/3 to four years for a probation violation.

“Today’s sentence is a measure of justice for the victims of this defendant,” Brown said. “The defendant fled the jurisdiction and was able to delay justice, but ultimately he was captured with the help of ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and will now begin serving a lengthy prison sentence.”

Artis was arrested in October 2003 and pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was sentenced to nine years in state prison.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 7:18 pm, March 7, 2012
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