A Medford man who fled the state after shooting two men was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison over what his attorney said were drug debt collections gone wrong.
Jovan Bailey, 31, shot a man twice in the chest outside the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead in November 2016 and another man in the leg outside Shakers Pub in Oakdale in January 2017, the Suffolk district attorney's office said. He was captured in Massachusetts, where he was living with acquaintances, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in April to second-degree attempted murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
His defense attorney, Christopher Brocato of Central Islip, said both shootings were caught on surveillance cameras and his client, a Bloods gang member facing up to 50 years behind bars, chose to make a deal with the judge in the case. One factor in the sentence he got was that both his victims recovered relatively quickly, the attorney said.
"Basically, it was his job to collect drug debts," Brocato said. "Everyone involved were gang members. If you borrowed money for the Bloods and it was the purpose for purchasing narcotics and you didn't repay them, eventually Jovan Bailey was the one who came to collect."
After the second shooting, authorities said, Bailey took off in a vehicle that police tracked down shortly afterward. The vehicle's owner, Jessica Hardy, 29, of Bellport, was arrested on a charge of illegally possessing a 9 mm semiautomatic Glock handgun found unloaded in the car, prosecutors said.
A forensic analysis showed the Glock was the gun used in both shootings, authorities said, and DNA analysis tied Bailey and Hardy to the weapon.
Bailey was identified as the shooter after an investigation by Suffolk and Riverhead police and the district attorney's office, prosecutors said. He was arrested in Massachusetts in March 2017 by the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“This is a dangerous individual and an alleged gang member who repeatedly committed senseless acts of gun violence and then attempted to evade law enforcement by fleeing Suffolk County,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a news release.
Hardy was sentenced in July to 3 years' probation for attempted criminal possession of a firearm, a misdemeanor, prosecutors said.
Bailey also was given 5 years of post-release supervision, the district attorney's office said, and orders of protection were issued to his two victims.