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Long IslandCrime

Fingerprint ties defendant to Hempstead slaying, prosecutor says

Tayquan Clark arrives at the Nassau County Courthouse

Tayquan Clark arrives at the Nassau County Courthouse for opening statements in his trial on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A fingerprint on the slaying victim’s car door, a seized gun that matched the bullet found in the man’s brain and a recorded jail call will prove a Roosevelt man was behind a 2014 deadly carjacking attempt in Hempstead, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday.

“Greed, terror and murder” marred the early morning of July 5, 2014, on Princeton Street when Tayquan Clark, now 24, fired a gunshot into the head of a BMW driver whose girlfriend was in the passenger seat, Assistant District Attorney Martin Meaney said.

But an attorney for Clark attacked the government’s first-degree and second-degree murder case as circumstantial, saying it wasn’t a random carjacking try but a “targeted hit” by someone other than his client that left the victim dead.

Defense attorney Stephen Kunken also told Nassau County Court jurors they wouldn’t know who had killed victim Shawn Boone, 26, of Hempstead, when the trial was over.

“This is a real-to-life murder mystery,” the Commack lawyer said. “And at the end of the case, you’re not going to know who shot Shawn Boone. . . . That person is not in this courtroom.”

Clark was on parole after an attempted robbery conviction when police arrested him July 26, 2014, on a gun charge outside an American Legion hall in the same area of Hempstead. Authorities later accused him of Boone’s slaying after they said ballistics evidence linked the revolver they’d charged him with possessing to the killing.

Meaney said Boone and his girlfriend were in a late-model white BMW in front of her home when Clark approached and opened fire after Boone threw up his hands and then tried to drive away. The victim’s lifeless body fell out of the car, but his feet stayed inside, and the shooter wasn’t able to drive away the BMW after opening the driver’s door, Meaney said.

Boone’s girlfriend then ran inside her house, where surveillance video cameras captured a “grainy” image of the encounter, according to the prosecutor.

He said the video showed the shooter, who fled after he couldn’t drive the BMW, speaking to someone who had been in a nearby SUV before the shooter wiped down the BMW’s shifter and wheel — but not the driver’s door.

“And guess whose fingerprints are on that driver’s side door besides Shawn Boone? This defendant,” Meaney said.

Before authorities charged Clark with murder, Meaney said Clark remarked on a recorded phone call while jailed on the gun charge that he “might be in here for murder.”

But Kunken said no one knows when Clark’s fingerprint was left on the BMW, and the leased car “was used and passed around” in Hempstead. He alleged a police witness who would link Clark to the gun was “going to falsely accuse” Clark “to protect her nephew.”

Kunken also offered alternative motives for the killing, including revenge on the part of an “associate in crime” who may have figured Boone “ratted him out.” State records show Boone served prison time for attempted assault and attempted robbery.

Clark’s attorney also said Boone “stole money” and two credit cards “from people who he had no relationship with” were found in his clothes.

Several hours before Boone’s killing, Boone also got into a tussle with a gunman “who an entire neighborhood in Hempstead was scared of,” Kunken said.


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