In perhaps the final chapter of a bloodstained saga, convicted killer Shamduh Wilson got another prison term last week for conspiring to murder the prime witness to his first killing.
Still only in his mid-twenties, Wilson is already serving a 38-year sentence for manslaughter in that original case, in which he shot an innocent bystander in 2005 in a Brooklyn bodega. The new sentence, 12 to 25 years for trying to kill the witness — who was Wilson’s original target in the first place — will run consecutively.
Unlike at his conviction last month, Wilson uttered no fearsome comments to the prosecutor. He was tight-lipped. But the tragedy of errors speaks for itself.
Wilson never could get it right. After serving four years for a 1999 robbery and one year of a two-year sentence for an attempted robbery in 2003, he really spiraled out of control.
In January 2005, over what his lawyer later described as simply an argument over his girlfriend, Iyahsia Golphin, Wilson went after a man named Andre Wheatley and found him in the Star Deli on Pitkin Avenue. Wilson shot Wheatley, but the bullet only shattered Wheatley’s collarbone before it struck bystander Kenneth Frasier in the head. A chef at the Capital Grille, on East 42nd Street, Frasier was shopping in the deli with his young daughter. The ricochet instantly killed him.
Wilson had gotten early parole, as papers reported at the time, and he was held up by right-wingers as a poster boy in their efforts to abolish parole.
But things would get worse for Wilson. Awaiting trial, Wilson got the word out that he wanted Wheatley killed, thinking that it would weaken the state’s case if prime witness Wheatley couldn’t testify against him. The man who agreed to help Wilson, however, happened to be a confidential informant and set up Wilson for the police. Some time around January 20, 2006, the informant and an undercover cop posing as a hit man paid a visit to Wilson in jail and discussed the plan.
Meantime, Wilson was convicted of manslaughter for killing Frasier and sentenced to 25 years to life, with additional time for wounding Wheatley. What’s more, he faced the new round of charges revolving around the conspiracy to have Wheatley killed.
After fits and starts, including a mistrial, Wilson was convicted last month. “It’s guilty, guilty on all counts,” he said upon reentering the Brooklyn courtroom on November 16 to hear the jury’s verdict. The jury had been out less than an hour. Wilson could be seen turning to assistant district attorney Melissa Carvajal, who sat at the adjacent table, and staring at her ominously, as he said to her, “I’m cool with it, though. Because if you knew what I knew ….” Wilson let his words trail off and replaced them with a menacing grin. And then he got the bad news about the verdict.
“I have no idea if he was trying to make me nervous or if it was a veiled threat,” Carvajal later told the Voice. “Really, it’s something in the end where you can be glad to see somebody put away.”
Nearly a month later, Wilson kept quiet at his sentencing on the conspiracy conviction. He and his lawyer, with some fight left in them, vow an appeal.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 14, 2010