Suffolk prosecutors upgraded a West Babylon man’s charges to murder Thursday in what they now say was an intentional fatal hit-and-run outside a Lindenhurst bar last month.
“The victim tried to get away, he tried to hide," said Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini in a news conference, referring to Kawon Williams, 28, of Wyandanch. "But the defendant was relentless, ultimately mowing the victim down and murdering him in cold blood.”
Shatik Canady, 41, is now charged with the intentional crime of second-degree murder and faces 25 years to life in prison. Authorities said they have witness testimony and video in the case.
Canady was originally charged with the lower crime of first-degree manslaughter after, police said, he ran over Williams on March 23 outside the Brewhaus Pub. Canady was held without bail after his initial arraignment last month. While Canady was in jail, a judge lowered his bail although he did not post it.
Thursday, state Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro in Riverhead raised Canady’s bail to $2 million bond or $1 million cash during a court appearance in which the grand jury indictment was unsealed. He is due back in court on May 3.
Williams’ family attended but declined to comment afterward.
Canady’s court-appointed lawyer, Joseph Hanshe, said his client has been overcharged in the case and he maintains the death was an accident.
“We’re going to vigorously defend him," Hanshe said outside the courtroom. “We’re hoping to have a resolution at the end.”
Sini said the fatality wasn't an accident.
“The defendant did not stop until he finally had a clear shot,” Sini said. “It’s on video; we know what happened. Second-degree murder is an intentional murder, this was intentional. It’s an appropriate charge.”
Sini said the dispute last month began when Canady interrupted a conversation Williams was having with others shortly before 5 a.m. in the pub’s rear parking lot.
The two exchanged words and Canady then grabbed an ice scraper from his vehicle's trunk and hit Williams with it, Sini said. As Williams tried to fight back, Canady allegedly got into his car. Williams tried to hide behind other vehicles in the parking lot but Canady "drove directly and intentionally at Williams, running him over with his car before backing up and taking off, fleeing from the scene,” Sini said.
Police caught Canady in the same car about 16 hours later following "intelligence from sources" and he again allegedly tried to flee. Sini said the men did not have a relationship but it was unclear if they'd ever met before.
Assistant District Attorney Frank Schroeder said Canady's criminal activity dates back to 2006. He has a robbery and two petty larceny convictions as well as a driving while under the influence of drugs conviction. A 2019 misdemeanor drug case in Nassau County is pending, he said.
Schroeder had asked Ambro to raise the bail, noting that Canady allegedly left the scene and then fled from police.
"There is a real risk of flight in this case," he said, adding that "the defendant's instincts kicked in and he attempted to flee again" when authorities tried to arrest him.
Hanshe said his client has three children and a full-time job working for a party tent company. He asked for lower bail but Ambro set it higher, citing Canady's prior convictions and his alleged flight at the scene and from authorities.