2 men get 85 years for Flushing payroll robbery

By Brian Lockhart

Two Queens men were each sentenced to more than 85 years in prison last Thursday for their roles in a 1997 payroll robbery in Flushing that resulted in the shootings of an off-duty detective and a retired police officer, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The sentencing brings to a close a case nearly three years old.

Aaron Boone, 29, of 53-18 Junction Blvd. in Elmhurst and Robert Majors, 24, of 155-01 90th Ave. in Jamaica Hills were both convicted earlier this year of attempted murder, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.

Majors received a sentence of 90 years to life in prison and Boone was sentenced to 85 1/2 to 89 years in prison.

“The sentence is well deserved,” Brown said.

Late last September, their accomplice, Bernard Johnson, 26, of 2766 University Ave., the Bronx, was convicted of two counts of first-degree robbery, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He was not found guilty of attempted murder. Johnson is currently serving 40 years in state prison.

The DA said according to trial testimony, the robbery took place the morning of May 9, 1997, as retired Police Officer Joseph Bellone and off-duty Detective Arthur Pettus were delivering an $80,000 payroll for a private security firm to Positive Promotions Printing at 168th Street and Station Road in Flushing.

Brown said testimony revealed that as the officers pulled up to the business in their armored vehicle, Boone, Majors and Johnson jumped out of a parked van, confronted the officers and began firing at them.

“Officer Bellone was shot a dozen times and Detective Pettus was shot as many as six times by the gunmen. It is a miracle they survived,” Brown had said following Johnson's trial last year.

Brown said the three defendants fled the scene with the money, leaving their two victims bleeding on the sidewalk.

He said Boone and Majors were arrested on May 10, 1997 and Johnson was arrested almost two weeks later on May 21.

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