A family member embraces Cemal “John” Dagdeviren's wife, Ulkiye, in...

A family member embraces Cemal “John” Dagdeviren's wife, Ulkiye, in pink, as prosecutor Brian Rodriguez, far right in back, leaves court after Roston's conviction. Credit: Jeff Bachner

A Baldwin man was convicted of murder Friday for running over a gas station manager who tried to stop him for not paying for a $22 tank of gas. 

Joshua E. Roston, 37, was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the Jan. 14, 2019, hit-and-run death of Pit Stop gas station manager Cemal “John” Dagdeviren, of Levittown.

He was convicted of felony murder in the commission of a robbery, manslaughter, and two counts of robbery, but found not guilty of intentional murder, his attorney, Joseph Lo Piccolo, said.

Roston also was convicted of felony leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, and three counts of petit larceny.

He was acquitted of two felony counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Roston faces 25 years to life in prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8.

The jury deliberated for two days before returning a verdict Friday in Nassau County Court in Mineola. Roston claimed self-defense and pleaded not guilty in 2019 to a grand jury’s indictment.

“Cemal 'John' Dagdeviren was a hardworking family man whose life was tragically cut short when Joshua Roston ran him over with a GMC Yukon after stealing $22 worth of gas," Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a statement. "Rather than just pay his bill, Roston barreled John over in his SUV, dragged his body along the pavement, and quickly fled New York State.

"This was an unspeakable tragedy, and we are grateful to the jury for their service and their decision to convict Joshua Roston of murder."

Prosecutors said Roston had pulled into the gas station on Grand Avenue in North Baldwin just before 7:30 a.m. to fill up his 1999 GMC Yukon. The attendant pumped $22 worth of gas and noticed the SUV was missing license plates, registration and inspection stickers and asked Roston to pay inside the service center.

Authorities said Roston tried to pay with a fraudulent credit card and then said he wanted to get cash from an ATM across the street. He left the store without paying and got back into his SUV. Dagdeviren followed Roston into the parking lot and knocked on his driver’s side window, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors played surveillance video during the three-week trial that showed Dagdeviren grabbing onto the windshield wipers of the SUV and then standing in front of the vehicle to try to stop Roston from driving away.

Roston hit the gas and ran over Dagdeviren, dragging his body for several feet, prosecutors said, killing him at the scene.

Prosecutors said Roston had a history of filling up at other gas stations and speeding away without paying in the months leading up to the fatal hit-and-run, but two prior thefts did not result in injury or death. He turned himself in to authorities in Philadelphia following a February 2019 arraignment.

Lo Piccolo said Dagdeviren’s death was accidental and that he did not intend to steal gas when he pulled up to the station. His defense claimed Roston felt he was being racially profiled and sped away when Dagdeviren reached into his pocket for a cellphone that Roston thought might be a gun.

Lo Piccolo said he didn’t think Roston was trying to leave without paying, but that Roston's credibility to the jury was undermined by two previous convictions of stealing gas from two Nassau County gas stations in 2018.

“I’m disappointed, but I respect the jury’s fact-finding and decision-making,” Lo Piccolo said.

With Michael O'Keeffe

A Baldwin man was convicted of murder Friday for running over a gas station manager who tried to stop him for not paying for a $22 tank of gas. 

Joshua E. Roston, 37, was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the Jan. 14, 2019, hit-and-run death of Pit Stop gas station manager Cemal “John” Dagdeviren, of Levittown.

He was convicted of felony murder in the commission of a robbery, manslaughter, and two counts of robbery, but found not guilty of intentional murder, his attorney, Joseph Lo Piccolo, said.

Roston also was convicted of felony leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, and three counts of petit larceny.

He was acquitted of two felony counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Roston faces 25 years to life in prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8.

The jury deliberated for two days before returning a verdict Friday in Nassau County Court in Mineola. Roston claimed self-defense and pleaded not guilty in 2019 to a grand jury’s indictment.

“Cemal 'John' Dagdeviren was a hardworking family man whose life was tragically cut short when Joshua Roston ran him over with a GMC Yukon after stealing $22 worth of gas," Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a statement. "Rather than just pay his bill, Roston barreled John over in his SUV, dragged his body along the pavement, and quickly fled New York State.

"This was an unspeakable tragedy, and we are grateful to the jury for their service and their decision to convict Joshua Roston of murder."

Prosecutors said Roston had pulled into the gas station on Grand Avenue in North Baldwin just before 7:30 a.m. to fill up his 1999 GMC Yukon. The attendant pumped $22 worth of gas and noticed the SUV was missing license plates, registration and inspection stickers and asked Roston to pay inside the service center.

Authorities said Roston tried to pay with a fraudulent credit card and then said he wanted to get cash from an ATM across the street. He left the store without paying and got back into his SUV. Dagdeviren followed Roston into the parking lot and knocked on his driver’s side window, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors played surveillance video during the three-week trial that showed Dagdeviren grabbing onto the windshield wipers of the SUV and then standing in front of the vehicle to try to stop Roston from driving away.

Roston hit the gas and ran over Dagdeviren, dragging his body for several feet, prosecutors said, killing him at the scene.

Prosecutors said Roston had a history of filling up at other gas stations and speeding away without paying in the months leading up to the fatal hit-and-run, but two prior thefts did not result in injury or death. He turned himself in to authorities in Philadelphia following a February 2019 arraignment.

Lo Piccolo said Dagdeviren’s death was accidental and that he did not intend to steal gas when he pulled up to the station. His defense claimed Roston felt he was being racially profiled and sped away when Dagdeviren reached into his pocket for a cellphone that Roston thought might be a gun.

Lo Piccolo said he didn’t think Roston was trying to leave without paying, but that Roston's credibility to the jury was undermined by two previous convictions of stealing gas from two Nassau County gas stations in 2018.

“I’m disappointed, but I respect the jury’s fact-finding and decision-making,” Lo Piccolo said.

With Michael O'Keeffe

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