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Mechanic who killed co-worker is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, DA says

Lawrence Grammer leaves Nassau Police headquarters on August

Lawrence Grammer leaves Nassau Police headquarters on August 5, 2018 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau County judge sentenced a mechanic convicted of murdering a co-worker in a Glen Head body shop to 25 years to life in prison, prosecutors said Thursday.

Lawrence Grammer, 74, was convicted in June on second-degree murder and a weapon charge for the Aug. 4, 2018 shooting of Bashir "Bobby" Ward, a 35-year-old husband and father from Valley Stream, in the garage at D & R Automotive.

"Bashir ‘Bobby’ Ward was effectively executed when this defendant approached him from behind and mercilessly shot him once in the back of the head at close range, killing him," acting Nassau District Attorney Joyce Smith said in a statement. "Grammer took a man’s life after a petty argument and will now spend decades in prison paying for his crime."

During trial, Grammer, who testified at his trial in front of acting state Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim, said he grabbed his gun because he believed Ward was picking up a tool as a weapon after threatening him and using a racial slur. Grammer said he didn’t intend to open fire with his .45-caliber pistol but said "the gun went off" after racking a bullet in the chamber to shoot.

Following the shooting, Grammer also told police he put the gun in a vehicle parked near the garage after he and Ward had a prior confrontation on Aug. 3, 2018.

Jurors in the trial heard a recording of a 911 call Grammer made after the shooting in which he asked police to respond to the garage on Glen Head Road and declared: "I just killed a guy."

In closing arguments, Nassau prosecutor Tracy Keeton told jurors the shooting of Ward was an "execution."

Grammer's attorney, Joseph Lo Piccolo, of Garden City, said at trial the 911 call supported the defense’s contention that the shooting was an accident by a man who feared Ward after Ward attacked him the day before and used a racial slur.

Keeton, however, said Grammer "admitted committing this brutal murder" and the case was solved minutes after the crime took place.

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