Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

WHITE PLAINS – Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced the indictments of five men in connection with a twelve-hour violent crime spree that began on May 21, 2017.

Allen Copeland

Scarpino said that it is alleged that on May 21, 2017, defendant Allen Copeland, using an illegal handgun, shot at Victim-1 in the area of 3rd Street and Union Avenue in the City of Mount Vernon.

On  May 21, 2017, defendant Eric Lee, using an illegal handgun, shot at Victim-2 and Victim-3 in the area of 4th Avenue in the City of Mount Vernon.

Between May 21, 2017 and May 22, 2017, defendants Eric Lee, Sincere Smith, Allen Copeland, Leroy Garcia and John Oquendo participated in a conspiracy to commit robberies which led to the murder of victim Trevon Boswell, an intended robbery victim.

This robbery conspiracy spanned throughout several jurisdictions – the City of Mount Vernon, the City of New Rochelle, and the City of Yonkers in Westchester County as well as various robberies in the County of the Bronx, New York – and lasted several hours, noted Scarpino.

Eric Lee

According to the charges in the 50-count conspiracy indictment, defendants Eric Lee, Sincere Smith, Allen Copeland and Leroy Garcia conspired to commit robberies in Mount Vernon, New York.

  • They began by attempting to rob Victim-4 and completing an armed robbery of Victim-5 in Mount Vernon.
  • Lee and Smith attempted to rob Victim-6, Trevon Boswell, while Garcia stood as the lookout and Copeland acted as the getaway driver, and when Boswell tried to get away, defendant Eric Lee shot Boswell in the back in the stairwell to his own residence.
  • Lee and Smith then robbed Victim-7 in the vestibule of an apartment building in the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, New York.
  • Lee, Smith and Copeland then recruited the fifth defendant John Oquendo and sought additional robbery victims.
  • Lee, Smith, Copeland and Oquendo, armed with illegal handguns, robbed Victim-8, Victim-9 and Victim-10 in the area of Bonnefoy Place in New Rochelle, New York.
  • Next, the men traveled to the 45th Precinct of the Bronx (Coop City area) and robbed Victim-11 of a chain from around his neck.
  • When Victim-11’s cab driver (Victim-12) attempted to get the chain back, Lee shot Victim-12 two times with his illegal handgun.
  • Lee, Smith, Copeland and Oquendo robbed Victim-13 of his jewelry in the 47th Precinct of the Bronx, near the Mount Vernon border.
  • Finally, Lee, Smith, Copeland and Oquendo robbed Victim-14, Victim-15 and Victim-16 inside a cab stand in the City of Yonkers, holding them at gunpoint.

Leroy Garcia

During the course of the conspiracy, these five defendants victimized sixteen innocent people, including the shooting death of Boswell, shooting and causing serious physical injury to Victim-12, and, assaulting Victim-8 using a handgun. This violent group brought terror to several communities in Westchester County and surrounding jurisdictions beginning around 5:30 p.m. on May 21, 2017 and ending around 5:30 a.m. on May 22, 2017.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the City of Mount Vernon Police Department, the City of New Rochelle Police Department, the City of Yonkers Police Department and the City of New York Police Department, collaboratively worked, using old fashioned police work and a little bit of technology, to get these violent offenders off the streets. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Crimes Safe Streets Task Force, assisted by the East Haven (Connecticut) Police Department and the Waterbury (Connecticut) Police Department were responsible for locating and arresting defendant Leroy Garcia, who had been a fugitive until July 7, 2017.

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said: “This was a vicious crime spree, leaving a trail of innocent victims including one senseless death. The Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers and New York City Police Departments should all be commended for their cooperation and hard work that brought this spree to a swift end. The evidence in this case will reveal an appalling level of depravity and violence that will not be tolerated in Westchester.”

John Oquendo

Police Commissioner Shawn Harris of the Mount Vernon Police Department said, “We are extremely proud of the Patrol Officers and Detectives who made the arrest in this case, the outcome proves the importance of collaboration between agencies. Crime crosses borders, so law enforcement should too.”

Police Commissioner Patrick J. Carroll of the New Rochelle Police Department said, “The concerted efforts of the New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, and New York City Police Departments sends a clear and strong message that the region’s law enforcement agencies work together to combat crimes committed against our citizens.”

Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner stated, “Due to the collaborative efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies, our communities are safer today now that these five alleged violent criminals are off the street. I am proud of the hard work of our Police Officers and Detectives and the contributions they made to this investigation.”

Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office, William F. Sweeney, Jr. said, “The subjects in this case showed no regard for human life after allegedly killing one of the victims in the early hours of their crime spree. They went on for many more hours, continuing to terrorize several communities, with no fear of getting caught or thought to stopping. The FBI Westchester County FBI Safe Streets Task Force will continue to do all we can to support our law enforcement partners in tracking down criminals who truly show no respect for laws, or even human life.”

Sincere Smith

The defendants pled not guilty.

Defendants Eric Lee, Sincere Smith, Allen Copeland and John Oquendo are remanded. Defendant Leroy Garcia remains in jail in the State of Connecticut pending extradition to the State of New York.

Eric Lee had absconded from parole. He was under supervision for a 2012 conviction for robbery in the first degree. Lee has also been indicted for Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree for possessing dangerous instruments found in his jail cell while incarcerated on the murder charges, which he intended to use to harm corrections officers at the Westchester County Jail.

Justin Pruyne, Deputy Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Correction said, “Mr. Lee’s felony indictments for assaulting another prisoner and possessing a weapon reaffirm the commitment of the District Attorney and County Executive to public safety, including for all officers, staff and inmates. The Department of Correction stands ready to provide assistance to its partner agencies in all serious cases, including crimes occurring within our own facilities.”

Allen Copeland was on parole for a 2014 conviction for possession of a firearm, and has an additional indictment pending charging him with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, Assault in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree for shooting an innocent victim in the City of Yonkers on May 20, 2017.

Leroy Garcia had three New York warrants, including one from the Westchester County Department of Probation, as well as warrants in the State of Connecticut.  He was on probation supervision for pleading guilty to a felony driving while intoxicated.

The defendants were remanded.

The next court date for these defendants is Aug. 9, 2017.

Charts containing names, ages, residences, charges and maximum penalties are set forth below.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brian Bendish of the Superior Court Trial Division along with Bureau Chief John O’Rourke and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Abinanti of the Gangs, Firearms and Narcotics Bureau.

Indictment 1

People v. Allen Copeland, 17-0631

Charges:

  • Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, class B felony
  • Attempted Assault in the First Degree, class C felony
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony – 2 counts

On May 21, 2017, in the City of Mount Vernon, New York, Allen Copeland is accused of shooting at an innocent victim.

For these charges, Copeland is facing a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison if he is convicted on this indictment.

Indictment 2

People v. Eric Lee, 17-0630

Charges:

  • Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, class B felony
  • Attempted Assault in the First Degree, class C felony
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony – 2 counts

On May 21, 2017, in the City of Mount Vernon, New York, Eric Lee is accused of shooting at two innocent victims.

For these charges, Lee is facing a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison if he is convicted on this indictment.

Indictment 3

People v. Eric Lee, Sincere Smith, Allen Copeland, Leroy Garcia & John Oquendo, 17-0561

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence
Eric Lee
25 years old
Mt. Vernon, NY
  • Murder in the First Degree, class A-I felony
  • Murder in the Second Degree, class A-I felony (2 counts)
  • Attempted Murder in the First Degree, class A-  felony
  • Robbery in the First Degree, class B felony (9 counts)
  • Assault in the First Degree, class B felony
  • Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, class C felony (2 counts)
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, class C felony (10 counts)
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony (18 counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Assault in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, class E felony
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree, class E felony
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, class A misdemeanor
Life in prison without the possibility of parole
Sincere Smith
22 years old
New Rochelle, NY
  • Murder in the Second Degree, class A-I felony
  • Robbery in the First Degree, class B felony (9 counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, class C felony (2 counts)
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, class C felony (10 counts)
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony (18 counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Assault in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, class E felony
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree, class E felony
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, class A misdemeanor
25 years to Life in prison
Allen Copeland
21 years old
Mt. Vernon, NY
  • Murder in the Second Degree, class A-I felony
  • Robbery in the First Degree, class B felony (8 counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, class C felony (2 counts)
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, class C felony (8 counts)
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony (18 counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Assault in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, class E felony
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree, class E felony
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, class A misdemeanor
25 years to life in prison
Leroy Garcia
29 years old
Waterbury, CT
  • Murder in the Second Degree, class A-I felony
  • Robbery in the First Degree, class B felony
  • Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, class C felony (2 counts)
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, class C felony
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony (4 counts)
  • Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, class E felony
25 years to life in prison
John Oquendo
21 years old
Bronx, NY
  • Robbery in the First Degree, class B felony (8 counts)
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, class C felony (8 counts)
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony (14 counts)
  • Assault in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, class E felony
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree, class E felony
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, class A misdemeanor
Up to 25 years prison

 Indictment 4

People v. Eric Lee, 17-0706

Charges:

  • Promoted Prison Contraband in the First Degree, class D felony
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, class D felony

On July 3, 2017, in the Town of Mount Pleasant, New York, Eric Lee is accused of possessing sharpened metal objects that he intended to use to harm correction officers at the Westchester County Jail.

For these charges, Lee is facing a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 4 years in prison if he is convicted on this indictment.

Indictment 5

People v. Allen Copeland, 17-0552

Charges:

  • Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, class B felony
  • Attempted Assault in the First Degree, class C felony
  • Assault in the Second Degree, class D felony
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, class C felony

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