Days after a Brooklyn man with no ties to Suffolk County was shot to death in West Babylon, the Suffolk homicide detective investigating the case testified Thursday that he met the man now charged with the killing seemingly by chance.
It was less than a week after Michael Sinclair, 32, had been found shot in the chest and face on Kellum Street in the early hours of Jan. 31, 2009, Det. Ron Leli testified in Riverhead.
The victim’s phone records showed that the night Sinclair was killed, he was in touch with Noriella Santos, and her phone records showed links to David Belton and her boyfriend, Daniel Rivera, Leli said.
Rivera, now known as Daniel Greenspan, 30, of Manhattan, is on trial, charged with second-degree murder, before state Supreme Court Justice William Condon.
Leli said he spent Feb. 5, 2009 questioning Santos “for hours” about how she knew all three men. She did not discuss then what she testified about for four days at this trial — that during a hiatus in her relationship with Greenspan, she dated Sinclair and other men for a few months, contracted herpes and gave it to Greenspan.
She also testified that Greenspan made her lure Sinclair to West Babylon for a nonexistent party, where he and Belton, his friend, would rob and beat Sinclair. But instead, she said Greenspan shot Sinclair to death.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Nancy Clifford, Leli said that story had not yet unfolded when he brought Santos, now 27, back to her father’s home in the Bronx after questioning her.
Soon after they arrived at her father’s apartment, Leli said Greenspan appeared inside.
“He sat in a reclining chair and leaned back,” Leli said. “I did not expect to see him that night.”
Greenspan chatted easily with him, Leli said. He said he’d just broken his old phone and gotten a new one, and that he worked at his mother’s lingerie shop, La Petite Coquette in Greenwich Village.
Leli said he asked Greenspan if he knew Belton, and Greenspan said they’d been friends for a few months. Leli said he asked where Greenspan was the night of the killing.
“He said he may have been home alone, drinking and watching a movie,” Leli said.
Greenspan agreed to show Leli his car, a silver 2004 Acura TL. Leli said he’d seen such a car on a neighbor’s surveillance video near the crime scene.
But during cross-examination by defense attorney Michael Jaccarino of Brooklyn, Leli said he didn’t take a picture of it or ask the apparently cooperative Greenspan if he could look inside the car.
“I thought I’d get another crack at it,” Leli told Jaccarino.
If convicted, Greenspan faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
After two trials ended in hung juries, Belton, now 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder and is serving 10 years in prison. Santos, in return for her cooperation, was allowed to plead guilty to second-degree attempted robbery and is expected to get a sentence of probation.