Suffolk Police: Wheatley Heights man charged in killing of Centereach man
A Wheatley Heights resident was remanded without bail Wednesday for what Suffolk prosecutors described as the "execution-style" killing of a Centereach man found in January, half-naked and frozen solid in a wooded area of Rocky Point.
Glenn Seejattan, 29, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Central Islip in connection with the shooting death of Justin Lee, also 34, a father of two.
In court Wednesday, prosecutors said the fatal shooting stemmed from a “drug transaction gone bad" and investigators found DNA evidence in the suspect's home linking him to the crime.
Seejattan is facing weapons charges in a separate case, prosecutors said.
“This is a brutal and coldhearted execution in which the victim’s lifeless body was found dumped outside in the cold 10 days after he was reported missing by those who cared for him,” said Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney. “The defendant is now in custody and we will seek justice for this senseless tragedy.”
He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Lee's body was found Jan. 28 near the North Shore Rail Trail after he went missing from his home 10 days earlier.
An autopsy would reveal that he had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and thigh, prosecutors said.
Defense attorney Scott Gross said his client works in an auto body shop and has four young children. He declined to discuss any relationship Seejattan had with the victim.
"The case as it’s been presented to us seems very weak at the moment," Gross said after the arraignment. "We’ll obviously challenge the evidence they presented in court."
Alexandria Thomas, who was engaged to Lee, described her fiance as a loving and caring father. Their young son, she said, cries for his father every night.
"He loved to laugh and crack jokes," Thomas said of Lee outside her Centereach home Wednesday. "He was just a silly go-getter person. He just loved life."
Krysta Chmielowiec, Thomas' sister, said Lee "just wanted better for his kids. He wanted more than all this."
Thomas said her entire family is devastated by Lee's murder. The damage, she said, cannot be fixed.
"He had a family. He was loved," she said. "They dumped him outside like he was trash. He was a human being who was loved. Not trash."
Seejattan is due back in court Friday.
With Cecilia Dowd