An attorney representing a Melville 7-Eleven clerk charged in the killing of an alleged shoplifter said Friday his client was acting in self-defense.
Conroy Jarman, 29, of Hempstead, pleaded not guilty to a top charge of manslaughter after appearing via a Skype arraignment Friday before Suffolk County Judge James Saladino at First District Court in Central Islip.
Jarman has no criminal record and his Mineola-based attorney, Donald Rollock, called it "a clear case of self-defense."
Saladino set Jarman’s bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond and ordered him to return to court Oct. 20 for his next hearing. He faces 5-15 years in prison if convicted of the top charge of second-degree manslaughter.
Suffolk County police arrested Jarman outside the 7-Eleven between Walt Whitman Road and Route 110 early Thursday morning after an accused shoplifter, Raquan Jackson, 31, of Melville, was slashed across the chest with a box cutter.
Jarman chased Jackson from the store after Jackson stole merchandise from the store and they fought in the parking lot, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Frank Schroeder said.
"The two men struggled and the defendant produced a box cutter and cut him one time across the chest," Schroeder said during the hearing Friday morning. "Unfortunately, it was enough to cause his death."
A criminal complaint said Jarman admitted to police that he slashed Jackson in the chest and abdomen while attempting to recover the merchandise.
Saladino said there was no evidence Jackson was armed during the fight.
Rollock said Jarman works two jobs and called 911 just after midnight to report the theft and the attack. He said Jarman offered to give Jackson food if he agreed to return the merchandise.
Rollock didn’t know exactly what items were shoplifted, but said Jarman told him, "You don’t need to steal."
"This person was committing a crime and tried to violently attack my client," Rollock said. "He was just a regular working man."