A Bellport couple has been indicted on charges they orchestrated the kidnapping and strangling of a homeless man from Hempstead who they believed had stolen a PlayStation game console from them.
Sunetta Dennis, 42, of Bellport and her husband, Larry Dennis, 48, are charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in the March 27, 2017, death of Alan Moore, 23. Previously charged in the case was Sunetta Dennis' son, Joshua Nickens, 26, and his then-girlfriend, Dequanna Bates, 25. They lived at the time with the Dennises, authorities have said. Their cases are still pending.
Sunetta Dennis was arrested Tuesday night and pleaded not guilty Wednesday before state Supreme Court Justice John Collins in Riverhead. Larry Dennis, who was arrested with Nickens and Bates last year but not indicted, will be arraigned on Friday.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kearon said Sunetta Davis was the prime mover behind the attack on Moore, who lived at times with the Dennis family. When Sunetta Davis believed Moore had made off with the PlayStation, Kearon said she enlisted Nickens and Bates to find him and bring him to her.
Kearon said Bates lured Moore into a sport utility vehicle, saying she wanted to hang out with him. Instead, she and Nickens brought him to an abandoned house in Wyandanch, Kearon said.
There, Kearon said Moore was restrained with shoelaces and beaten.
"He was ultimately strangled to his death with a ligature," Kearon said. Prosecutors last year said Nickens strangled Moore.
Detectives have said Sunetta Dennis was not at the Wyandanch house.
The law allows a person to be convicted of murder if he or she orders it to be committed.
Moore's body was found a few days later when a man broke into the house to get warm.
Dennis' attorney, Richard Stafford of Bohemia, said his client told him she had nothing to do with it.
"She has expressed her innocence in this case," Stafford said. "When this happened, she was home in Bellport. She had no idea what was going on."
She was shocked that she was arrested, Stafford said.