Two sons of a former NFL player pleaded guilty to assault Tuesday in connection with a 2015 Roosevelt shooting after their recent trial on attempted murder charges ended in a hung jury.
Nassau Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn told Elliott Fortune, 20, and Jaiden Fortune, 18, he would sentence them in June to 5 years in prison after their guilty pleas to a felony charge of first-degree assault. The pleas come after the elder brother won a separate acquittal in December on murder and gun charges following the 2014 slaying of a 21-year-old Freeport man in Roosevelt.
In the current case, prosecutors had alleged the brothers tried to rob an admitted marijuana dealer of his backpack, before a struggle ensued between the victim and the elder brother. The younger brother then shot the victim, now 31, in the face, prosecutors said.
At the April trial, defense attorneys Jeffrey Groder and Greg Madey attacked the prosecution’s case by depicting the victim as someone who wasn’t a credible witness and who fabricated some of his testimony. But prosecutor Donald Levin had pointed to a note the victim scrawled in the hospital that he said identified the brothers as the culprits, and said the man hadn’t forgotten “who inflicted that treachery on him that night.”
The district attorney’s office declined to comment Tuesday.
“It’s a beneficial end of these two cases for Mr. Fortune,” said Groder, who represented the older brother in both his court cases.
Madey, who represented the younger brother, called Tuesday’s court proceeding “a good plea,” adding: “It worked out to his advantage.”
Both brothers had been facing up to 25 years in prison if found guilty of attempted murder. A grand jury also indicted them on attempted robbery, assault and weapon offenses.
Their father, also named Elliott Fortune, played football at Roosevelt High School before going on to play in the NFL in the mid-1990s. He was in court Tuesday for his sons’ pleas.
“It’s a bittersweet thing. Glad to have it over with. I’d rather have my kids home,” he said.
Fortune added his sons accepted their pleas “as made,” and planned to turn things around when they came home from prison and “continue in a better fashion.”