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Defendant pleads guilty to murder in virtual court proceeding

Jamik Cannon and Brian Marshall Gibson leave Nassau

Jamik Cannon and Brian Marshall Gibson leave Nassau Police headquarters charged with one count of Murder 2nd Degree and Attempted Murder 2nd Degree on Dec. 12, 2018 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A South Floral Park man pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday in a virtual court proceeding after what prosecutors said was a 2018 shooting ambush in Hempstead that killed one man and wounded another.

Brian Marshall-Gibson, 25, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon, the Nassau district attorney's office said Thursday.

Prosecutors had alleged Marshall-Gibson and his co-defendant, Jamik Cannon, 27, opened fire on two Hempstead men shortly before 11 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2018, while the victims were talking to each other in front of a Wellesley Street home.

Slaying victim Demetrius Winfield, 30, died after he was shot in the face, chest and groin, according to authorities.

Winfield's friend, a 33-year-old cab driver who was on a work break when the violence broke out, was shot in one of his legs and survived, law enforcement officials said.

Prosecutors said the shooting was meant to settle a fight that Winfield and Cannon had gotten into days earlier at a gas station. 

Marshall-Gibson's attorney, Dana Grossblatt, said her client made the decision to plead guilty before the pandemic, but the plea proceeding was delayed because of the public health crisis.

"We reviewed the evidence and he decided this was the the best course of action rather than a trial," the Jericho attorney said, adding that her client took the plea via video conference from the Riverhead jail.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Schwartz committed to giving Marshall-Gibson a sentence of 20 years to life in prison as part of his plea, Grossblatt said.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas called the shooting a "senseless act of violence" in a statement Thursday, adding that prosecutors hoped the guilty plea would help Winfield's family "as they continue to mourn his tragic loss."

Charges that include murder and attempted murder remain pending against Cannon, of Hempstead. He previously pleaded not guilty.

"Jamik maintains his innocence. We're ready for trial," his attorney, Dennis Lemke, said Thursday.

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