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Accused Latin Kings member arraigned in Plainview killing

Left: Kenneth Regan, charged with the murder of

Left: Kenneth Regan, charged with the murder of Justin Gottlieb, 27, leaves Nassau police headquarters on Feb. 6 in Mineola. Right: Douglas Coudrey, also charged in the murder of Gottlieb, leaving Nassau police headquarters the same day. Credit: Howard Schnapp

One of two alleged Latin Kings members charged with fatally shooting a Plainview man after chasing his sport utility vehicle to his home pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday through a video feed from Nassau's jail to a Mineola court.

Nassau Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan ordered that Kenneth Regan, 21, of Centereach, stay remanded in custody during an arraignment in which the defendant wasn't physically present because of precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nassau County Court proceeding followed the March 12 not-guilty plea of Regan's co-defendant, Douglas Coudrey, 22, of Eastport, to the same indictment.

It charged them with second-degree murder and two weapon offenses in the Jan. 14 shooting that killed Justin Gottlieb after a dispute that police said began during the victim's 15-minute drive home from his job.

Police have said the defendants targeted Gottlieb, 27, shooting him as he tried to get out of his Ford Explorer in front of his Margaret Drive East home.

The two "senselessly" killed Gottlieb after tailing him home "following a road rage incident," Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas alleged in a statement Wednesday, adding that prosecutors would work to "bring justice to the Gottlieb family."

The defendants and Gottlieb were strangers to each other, but there is surveillance video of the dispute between the parties, along with Gottlieb's vehicle and the defendants' vehicle "aggressively driving on the road," police said previously.

Regan and Coudrey were in a rented white Ford Fusion with Pennsylvania license plates, which pulled up next to the victim at about 5:30 p.m. before gunshots rang out and he was hit twice, according to authorities.

Police said Gottlieb was able to describe the make and model of the suspects' car to his parents before he died. The victim was engaged to be married and recently had become a father, according to an online fundraising page that a relative started that has collected more than $118,000 in donations for his grieving young family.

Regan's court-appointed attorney declined to comment following Wednesday's arraignment.

Regan and Coudrey's alleged attack on Gottlieb was part of what law enforcement officials said was a crime spree that also included a deadly shooting in New Jersey on Jan. 18 in which both defendants face murder and attempted murder charges.

In that case, authorities have alleged the defendants pulled up beside a Honda Civic on Interstate 80 in Lodi, firing multiple gunshots that killed the 27-year-old Bronx man who was behind the wheel and injuring the 24-year-old male passenger next to him.

A second passenger survived without injury, according to Bergen County prosecutors. 

Authorities said they later tracked Regan and Coudrey to an Eastport home and saw them get into a car, before detectives tried to pull it over and it sped off and crashed. Police took them into custody, but Coudrey later escaped from Suffolk police headquarters and was recaptured, according to authorities.

Court records in the Plainview homicide case show Coudrey allegedly told police at Suffolk police headquarters on Jan. 22 that he wanted to go to a hospital before adding: "I'm going away for murder. I had nothing to lose."

Later, at a Patchogue hospital, he allegedly said: "I almost got away with it."

Coudrey's Huntington-based attorney, Christopher Cassar, said Wednesday he believes those comments that authorities claim his client made were in reference to his alleged escape from police headquarters.

"He maintains his innocence and we plan to do a full investigation to determine how the government connects him to this offense," Cassar said of Gottlieb's slaying.

Cassar said his client has yet to be arraigned in the New Jersey case and denies being a member of the Latin Kings.

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