East Elmhurst guard guilty in cab driver death

By Adam Pincus

Following a three-week trial, jurors found Paul Chandler, 34, guilty of the shooting death of 52-year-old yellow cab driver Luis Quizhpi outside his Woodside home and the wounding of Orlando Giraldo, 42, as he left for work in Jackson Heights, prosecutors said.The jury deliberated for seven hours before finding Chandler guilty on charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery, assault and criminal possession of a weapon before Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis.Chandler, of 106-09 27th Ave., faces up to 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 14, the DA said.”The crimes of which the defendant has been convicted were cold, calculated and opportunistic, and resulted in one hardworking family man senselessly losing his life and another being seriously wounded,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.Two men pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges related to the attempted robberies, while a fourth man was expected to stand trial this week, the DA said.Prosecutors contend that at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2002, Chandler, Gary Hodges of South Jamaica, and another suspect, Jason Wright of Jamaica, attempted to rob Quizhpi, who had just returned home after completing a 14-hour taxi shift.Quizhpi tried to escape the three men, but following a brief struggle, Chandler pointed a .32-caliber pistol at the driver and fired, mortally wounding him in the forehead, the DA said. The attackers fled without taking any money and three days later Quizhpi died, prosecutors said.At about the time Quizhpi was succumbing to his injury, the three men, together with a fourth man, Marlon Clements of St. Albans, allegedly attacked Giraldo, the DA said.As the victim left his house in Jackson Heights for a factory job at about 4:20 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2002, the four attempted to rob him, but he broke free and ran away, prosecutors said. Three of the men gave chase, the DA said, including Chandler, who opened fire, striking Giraldo two times. In this instance, as well, the assailants fled the scene empty-handed, the DA said.As for the other defendants: Hodges, 29, pleaded guilty June 30, 2004, to murder, will be sentenced Feb. 7, and faces up to 25 years to life in prison; Wright, 30, is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 31; and Clements, 24, pleaded guilty on Sept. 21, 2004 to robbery and was sentenced to four years in prison.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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