A Richmond Hill man has been convicted on multiple counts of first-degree murder in the shooting execution death of a fellow Richmond Hill man in 2017, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
The defendant, Stephen Peters, 27, of Richmond Hill, and his co-defendant, Jason St. Hill, 22, went to the home of Azeem Ali, 43, shortly after midnight on Feb. 24, 2013, where they beat him and tied Ali’s hands and feet with an electrical cord, stole his bank card, and then shot him several times in the head before his apartment was torched to cover up evidence, according to trial testimony.
Peters took the victim’s bank card, along with his PIN number, and then shot him three times in the head, the DA said. In an attempt to get rid of the evidence, Peters then poured gasoline on the dead man’s body and around the apartment and set the place on fire. Firefighters responding to the apartment building on 116th Street to douse the flames, discovered the bound and badly burned remains of Ali, Brown said.
“This was a brutal killing — the victim was defenseless after being beaten and restrained. But the defendant in this case did not stop there,” said Brown. “He shot the man in the head and then tried to burn away the evidence by setting the victim’s apartment ablaze.”
In January 2017, a jury found Peters guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, third-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence, but they were unable to reach a verdict on the top charges. Peters was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison in May 2017. Following a nearly two-week-long trial, a jury on May 30, convicted Peters of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, according to Brown.
In New York state, a person is guilty of murder in the first degree when the act was premeditated, while second-degree murder means the killing was intentional but not planned.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak, who presided at trial, set sentencing for July 25, when Peters faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hill pleaded guilty to robbery in February 2017 and was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison, Brown said.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha
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