An alleged Bloods gang member pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a decade-old gang-related slaying of a North Bellport teenager who was shot while leaving an anti-crime rally.
Trendell Walker, 29, of Patchogue, entered the plea through his attorney in U.S. District Court in Central Islip in a case involving the 2007 slaying of Alvin Brothers, 15.
Prosecutors charged Walker with murder in aid of racketeering, and said they will submit the case to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to determine whether the death penalty should be sought.
The charge supersedes the assault-with-a-dangerous-weapon charges Walker was facing in connection with a 2016 shooting. Walker is being held in a federal detention center in Brooklyn.
Some relatives of Brothers expressed relief that the case is finally reaching a culmination after 10 years.
“It’s a long time and way overdue,” said a woman named Wendy, who identified herself as Brothers’ aunt and said she had traveled from Connecticut for the arraignment. “I’m just glad justice is finally being served.”
Walker, who investigators say is known by the street name Live Wire, was arraigned in a 10th-floor courtroom before U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein. U.S. Attorney Christopher Caffarone told the judge prosecutors would consult with Sessions on whether to seek the death penalty.
Brothers was shot shortly before midnight on Aug. 7, 2007, as he was leaving a Night Out Against Crime rally at a local park with five or six other young people. The youths had exchanged words with an unidentified man in a silver four-door vehicle shortly before the shooting, authorities said.
Police said the man returned and in a drive-by attack fired 10 shots at the group, striking Brothers twice in the back. The shooting was eight blocks from the victim’s home.
Walker’s attorney, Terrence Buckley of Islandia, declined to comment Tuesday. Walker did not speak in court.
Walker, who was charged in the case Dec. 1, was supposed to show up at his arraignment a week ago, but refused because he first wanted to speak to his attorney, officials said.
A number of charges related to the distribution of cocaine, heroin and PCP, and the use of a firearm in drug distribution, also are pending against Walker, according to court records.
Sources have credited the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and Suffolk County homicide detectives with jointly cracking the Brothers case, but did not disclose how their investigation led to Walker.
At the time of the 2007 shooting, Kamau Reid, a teenage friend of Brothers who was at the scene, told Newsday that after the burst of gunfire, “I got up and saw him fall down.”
Brothers blinked his eyes and said, “I want my mom,” Reid recalled. “His eyes rolled back in his head and he was gone.”