A former Wyandanch man is considering whether to admit to his role in a homicide he says he didn’t commit so that he can get something he wants badly — his immediate freedom, lawyers in the case say.
By the end of the day Friday, however, Gabriel Hubbard, 23, was not willing to admit enough of a role in the 2008 shooting of Jaquan Jones in Wyandanch to satisfy Suffolk prosecutors. Hubbard has been behind bars since his 2010 arrest.
Hubbard’s attorneys urged him not to take the plea offer of time served and juvenile offender status, which would leave Hubbard with no criminal record.
They acknowledged the irony of being miserable that their client could be on the verge of walking free, but said they are in the midst of making a strong case to dismiss the case before state Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen in Riverhead.
Hubbard’s mother, Theresa Davison of Amityville, said the situation was bizarre. “He’s innocent, but he’s got to plead guilty” to go free, she said. “It’s crazy.”
Hubbard was convicted of second-degree murder in 2012, but state Supreme Court Justice Martin Efman in 2014 set aside the verdict because prosecutors had not told the defense about a questionable statement detectives in Hubbard’s case had gotten in another case. In that case, Dets. Ronald Tavares and Charles Leser II got cabdriver Thomas Moroughan to sign an incriminating statement after a drunk, off-duty Nassau police officer shot him.
Moroughan was charged with assault, but Suffolk prosecutors dismissed the charge.
Efman ruled prosecutors violated what is known as the Brady rule, which generally requires them to turn over any evidence favorable to defendants as soon as they have it. Jurors at Hubbard’s trial focused almost entirely on whether the confession Hubbard signed for Tavares was voluntary before convicting him. No physical evidence linked Hubbard to the crime and no witnesses saw Hubbard fire the gun.
The pretrial hearing before Cohen was about to resume this week, with defense attorney JoAnn Squillace about to question Tavares about the Moroughan case, when Assistant District Attorney Peter Timmons offered the plea deal.
He is tempted to take it, Squillace said, because he is being held on bail of $500,000. Although she advised Hubbard not to take the deal, she said she understood why he might.
“We have the luxury of going home every day,” she said. “It’s his decision to make.”
If Hubbard does take the deal, it should not be interpreted as vindication of what detectives did in this case, said Stephen Drummond, Squillace’s co-counsel.
Both sides had agreed that if Hubbard admitted being present for a burst of gunfire at a house during a gang dispute, he would be permitted to plead guilty to manslaughter. But prosecutors later in the day said they wanted Hubbard to admit firing the shots, and his lawyers said he refused.