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After Guilty Verdict on Garcia For Murder He Got Life Now Nelson Wants Under 51 Months

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 30 – Christopher Nelson, also known as Hype, was indicted in December 2019 as part of the Black Mob gang. On May 27 he argued for release from prison amid COVID-19 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie E. Caproni. Inner City Press covered it, below. 

 On October 1, 2021, a co-defendant was brought into the SDNY Magistrates Court and Inner City Press was there. He had face tattoos and was referred to as "Garcia." Inner City Press was told, in a whisper, that the case is death penalty eligible. Garcia was detained on consent; later this: "unsealing of a five-count Superseding Indictment charging JONATHAN GARCIA, a/k/a “Jayo,” with racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, firearms, and narcotics offenses, in connection with GARCIA’s involvement in the 2017 murder of Joshua Flores, a/k/a “Monster,” and offenses committed by GARCIA as a member of the Latin Kings, including the Black Mob tribe of the Latin Kings.  GARCIA was arrested today and will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein in Manhattan federal court." Inner City Press was there, as the only media in the Mag Court, and said it would stay on the case.

And it has. Garcia's trial started on June 12, 2023 and Inner City Press was there. The first witness was a Jamaica Hospital nurse about Flores' body dumped outside at a bus stop. Then an NYP Detective about the Ozone Park crime scene, photos of utility glove labels and a Chicago Bulls cap.

On June 13 came the cross examination of a government cooperating witness about his rap songs. One, it emerged, was based off Bladerunner - that is, fiction. The strategy appeared to be to undermine the credibility both of the witness, and the upcoming Fame Kobaine rap video which the US Attorney's Office intends to use to convict Garcia. "Some raps are fiction, right?" the question went. Yes, indeed. The trial continues.

On June 14 Christopher Nelson, now a cooperator, testified about his drug dealing and meeting with Garcia who he said bragged about shooting Joshua Flores or "Monster," to whom he referred with a derogatory word. On the screen were Instagram photos including Nelson and Garcia.

  As the trial wound down, the defense wrote it about justification in the jury charge, arguing that "there is evidence that Mr. Garcia was being attacked by... a mob of gang members... He attempted to flee but was overcome by his attackers. They chased him across the street and tore his shirt. In the frantic seconds during which he was being jumped, shots were fired..."

And in the Final Jury Charge, there was a second on Justification on Page 19...

And then, "JONATHAN GARCIA, a/k/a “Jayo,” was found guilty at trial of the May 2017 murder of Joshua Flores in aid of racketeering.  GARCIA shot and killed Flores in front of a playground on a residential street in Queens, New York, while Flores was running away from GARCIA."

Docketed on June 16: "ORDER as to Jonathan Garcia. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that sentencing shall take place on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at 10:30 A.M. in Courtroom 443 of the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, New York, New York, 10007. Sentencing submissions are due on October 3, 2023. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any post-trial motions are due on July 28, 2023. The Government's response to any pos-trial motions is due August 25, 2023, and the Defendant's reply is due September 15, 2023."

On August 18, Judge Caproni docketed:  "ORDER as to (19-Cr-862-25) Jonathan Garcia. WHEREAS on August 8, 2023, and August 17, 2023, Probation informed the Court that Mr. Garcia declined to be interviewed by Probation for the Presentence Investigation Report ("PSR"); and WHEREAS Probation informed the Court that they would attempt to interview Mr. Garcia a third time on August 29, 2023, and requested an adjournment of the deadlines for the initial and final disclosure of the PSR. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Court APPROVES Probation's request for an adjournment of the PSR disclosure schedule. If Mr. Garcia refused to be interviewed by Probation a third time, the Court will take his unexplained recalcitrance into account at the time of sentence. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 8/18/2023)"

On October 24, Judge Caproni denied Garcia's motion(s) and docketed: "OPINION & ORDER as to Jonathan Garcia. Mr. Garcia's motion for acquittal is DENIED. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate the open motion at Dkt. 1029. The parties' sentencing submissions are due on November 2, 2023, and Mr. Garcia will be sentenced on Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 11:00 A.M"

That was postponed to December 19, 2023, and then again. But on April 4, 2024, Jonathan Garcia got a life sentence: "JUDGMENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE as to Jonathan Garcia (25). THE DEFENDANT: was found guilty on counts 1,2,4,5 after a plea of not guilty. Counts open and underlying are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: Twenty (20) years on Counts 1 and 4, to be served concurrently. Life in prison on Count 2, concurrent to Counts 1 and 4. Seven (7) years on Count 5, to be served consecutive to Counts 1, 2 and 4."

On November 15, co-defendant Lum got time served: "JUDGMENT In A Criminal Case (S1 19-Cr-862-05). Date of Imposition of Judgment: 11/15/2023. Defendant Christopher Lum (5) pleaded guilty to Count(s) 1s, 2s, 3s. Count(s) open and underlying are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: Time-served on Counts 1-3, concurrently. SUPERVISED RELEASE: Five (5) years on Counts 1-3 to be served concurrently."

On December 1, counsel for co-defendant Jupenky Pimentel asked for time served, anticipating a Section 5K1.1 motion after 31 months in jail.

And Pimentel got time served: "as to Jupanky Pimentel. THE DEFENDANT: pleaded guilty to counts 1,2,3. Counts open and underlying are dismissed on the motion of the United States. IMPRISONMENT: Time-served on Counts 1,2,3, concurrently. SUPERVISED RELEASE: Five (5) years on Counts 1,2,3, concurrently.(Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 12/15/2023)."

Co-defendant Christopher Nelson was arrested in Florida in October 2023 on a VOSR - but as of December 4 had not been transported to, or arrived in, New York. Judge Caproni asked for a report on why; on December 28 she was told he has arrived (Inner City Press believes, via Oklahoma, a new form of diesel therapy).  January 3 at 11:30 was suggested.

On February 2, 2024 Nelson was due in court - but at the appointed hour or just after, the door was locked. Then: "ORDER as to Christopher Nelson. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the conference scheduled for Friday, February 2, 2024, at 2:00 P.M. is ADJOURNED until Monday, February 5, 2024, at 2:30 P.M. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mr. Nelson is hereby notified that if he refuses to attend the proceeding on Monday, February 5, 2024, the Court will enter a force order to compel his attendance (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 2/2/24)."

On February 5, this: "ORDER as to Christopher Nelson. WHEREAS on February 5, 2024, the parties appeared for a status conference (the "Conference"); IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that for the reasons stated at the Conference, an evidentiary hearing will take place on Friday, March 15, 2024... not later than Monday, February 26, 2024, the Government must produce exhibits, an exhibit list, and a witness list to the Defendant and the Court (the Court's copies should be provided electronically); and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Government must provide 3500 material to Defendant and the Court not later than Monday, March 4, 2024 (the Court's copy should be provided electronically). (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 2/5/24)."

On March 4 Nelson's CJA lawyer requested an adjournment; the AUSA responded on opposition, attaching a Suffolk County charge which he argued was new but not unexpected.

On April 29, 2024 in advance of a May 9 sentencing, the US wrote in about Nelson selling heroin laced with heroin a week after release in September 2023. They now ask for five more years.

On April 30, Nelson's lawyer responded asking for less than 51 months, quoting his mother Patty and redacting a paragraph.

Back on January 3, Inner City Press arrived at the courtroom at 11:48 am and it was just ending. Afterward the AUSA put in a letter as to the MDC that "the Government confirms that the discussed separation order is in effect."

On August 2, 2023 in the wider case, Judge Caproni (correctly) ruled: "ORDER as to (19-Cr-862-12) Heinner Solis. WHEREAS on August 1, 2023, the parties moved to seal the sentencing submissions filed in advance of Mr. Solis's sentencing hearing on August 15, 2023. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties' requests to file their sentencing submissions in their entirety under seal are DENIED. The Court finds that these documents are judicial documents as they are directly relevant to the Court's duty to determine the appropriate sentence for Mr. Solis, and thus, a presumption of access applies. See Lugosch v. Pyramid Co. of Onondaga, 435 F.3d 110, 120 (2d Cir. 2006). Mr. Solis's confidentiality and privacy interests can be addressed by redacting any information that has not been made public. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Valerie E. Caproni on 8/2/2023)."

Heinner Solis got 55 months.

Back on October 20, 2022 Judge Caproni held another proceeding on Garcia, whose CJA lawyer said he was reaching out to the Federal Defenders. Judge Caproni referred to the Department of Justice making up its mind - that is, whether or not to seek the death penalty. After the mention of 6 gigabytes of discovery, the matter was pushed back to March 10, 2022 at 3 pm. Inner City Press will stay on the case.

From May 27, 2021: Assistant US Attorney Adam Hobson quoted from social media video, about shooting people.

    Nelson's defense lawyer argued that "Mr Nelson did not stab anyone. The government asserts that 'the defendant and two junior Black Mob members chased and stabbed a 17 year old boy in Port Jefferson, New Jersey.' This is untrue. The government knows very well that the video shows that it was an entirely different person - it was a black man (Mr. Nelson is white) believed to be 'Jo Jo' Joseph Garcia."  

On June 8, 2023, Judge Caproni conducted a final pre-trial conference in US v. Garcia. Reference was made to a music video; the defense was told it cannot cross examine a cooperator about the issue of child sexual abuse.

 The overall case is US v. Garcia, 19-cr-862 (Caproni).


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