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Queens man found guilty of murder in 2011 Freeport robbery, Nassau DA says

Jerod Plowden, 31, of Queens, was sentenced Wednesday

Jerod Plowden, 31, of Queens, was sentenced Wednesday for a 2011 slaying in Freeport. Credit: Nassau County District Attorney

A jury convicted a Queens man Friday in the death of a man he robbed of drugs and $30 before shooting him seven years ago in Freeport, the Nassau District Attorney's Office said.

Jerod Plowden, 30, of St. Albans, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 27 on second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery, authorities said.

His attorney, Mitchell Barnett of Mineola, said he and his client plan to file an appeal.

"He claims he was not there and had nothing to do with this," Barnett said.

But authorities said Plowden and an accomplice, Nolan Gaugler, arranged to meet Moez Hassan outside of an abandoned house on Steven Street about 1:30 p.m. April 12, 2011 under the pretense of buying Xanax pills from the Nassau Community College student.

Before any transaction could be made, Plowden and Gaugler stole 75 Xanax pills and the money from Hassan, and then Plowden opened fire, officials said. Five bullets struck Hassan, 23, of Queens, in the head, chest, and left arm, and twice in the abdomen, authorities said.

Police converged on the area after ShotSpotter picked up sounds of gunfire, and minutes later, officers captured Gaugler blocks away with the cash and pills still in his possession, prosecutors said.

Plowden escaped by running through a backyard, authorities said, but he was arrested 16 days later by Suffolk police after a vehicle he was a passenger in was pulled over in a routine traffic stop.

“Jerod Plowden robbed and then viciously shot and killed Moez Hassan at point blank range in broad daylight,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. “While a guilty verdict cannot bring Mr. Hassan back to his family, we hope today’s conviction brings them some solace knowing his killer will be behind bars for many years.”

Gaugler, now 26, of Mineola, pleaded guilty in 2014 to first-degree robbery  and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

This was the second trial in the case for Plowden, who was sentenced to 17 years to life in Hassan's fatal shooting  after he was convicted in 2013 in Nassau County Court. Gaugler had testified against him at that trial.  

But last year, an appellate court found that while the guilty verdict "was not against the weight of the evidence," a Nassau judge should have granted Plowden's motion to set aside the verdict based on juror misconduct. The second trial started Sept. 26 and the jury deliberated one day, prosecutors said.

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