A Nassau jury has acquitted a former Queens man of a 2010 home invasion slaying at a marijuana dealer’s Baldwin home, while convicting him of a robbery and burglary that happened at the same residence days earlier.
Tuesday’s verdict means Owen Ellis, 44, now is facing up to 25 years behind bars instead of the potential 25-years-to-life sentence that the second-degree murder count against him had carried, according to his Mineola attorney, Donald Rollock.
Ellis was found not guilty of the Aug. 24, 2010, homicide of Donald Thomas, of Rosedale, Queens. Thomas’ family has described him as a loving father of four born on the island of Jamaica who was visiting a female friend at the time of the shooting at the Washington Place home.
Jurors also acquitted Ellis on several other felony charges that included attempted murder, manslaughter, assault and weapon offenses. Rollock on Wednesday called the panel “a very intelligent group of people” who “listened to the evidence.”
Prosecutors had alleged Ellis was one of three masked assailants responsible for the deadly shooting, but said even as the trial started there had been no other arrests in the slaying and their investigation remained open.
“We thank the jury for their service,” district attorney’s office spokesman Brendan Brosh said in a statement Wednesday.
Rollock also said he planned to file a motion asking acting State Supreme Court Justice William O’Brien to throw out his client’s two convictions because Ellis’ arrest on those charges happened after the statute of limitations for those crimes had run out.
O’Brien scheduled sentencing for Jan. 10.