Three men arrested in a 2013 shooting outside a bar were arraigned on upgraded charges Wednesday after one of their two victims died in February, the Suffolk district attorney's office said.
Randis Peralta, 23, of Brentwood, was indicted on two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting of Cleon Norwood, 47, who was hit in the stomach outside a Central Islip bar Sept. 21, authorities said. The other victim, Darryl Jackson of Brentwood, recovered from being shot in the foot, authorities said.
The 16-count indictment also charges Peralta and his accused accomplices, Donald Bangs and Brandon Solar, with first-degree manslaughter, first-degree gang assault and second-degree gang assault.
The victims were in the parking lot of the Aura Lounge on West Suffolk Avenue when the three defendants, armed with guns, started shooting about 4:45 a.m., Suffolk police said.
"It was a bar brawl that turned into a gunfight," said Robert Clifford, spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.
The three were arrested a few weeks after the shooting on assault and firearm-possession charges, also covered in the indictment. The men pleaded not guilty.
At arraignment Wednesday, Peralta's attorney, Dan Russo, said his client denies the charges and predicted he would be acquitted of them: "There is no evidence he ever assaulted this victim."
In the courtroom, Bangs voiced surprise at being indicted on upgraded charges, although prosecutor Pete Timmons told Suffolk County Court Judge William Condon that he knew the case was going to be presented to a grand jury.
"Why don't I know what's going on," Bangs said.
According to court records, Bangs told investigators he did not strike anyone, saying, "I was shooting high."
Bangs' attorney, Anthony Scheller of Central Islip, said his client was also shot, in the arm, outside the bar that day but does not know who did it. "He didn't shoot at anybody," Scheller said.
Timmons asked the judge to order a DNA sample from each defendant so authorities could compare them with other evidence. Only Solar's attorney opposed, prompting Condon to decline to grant Timmon's request.
Bail was set at $1 million cash, or $2 million bond, for Peralta and $500,000 cash or $1 million bond for Bangs, 30, of Bay Shore, and also for Solar, 23, of Brentwood.
An attorney for Solar could not be reached Wednesday night.
With Andrew Smith