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Club owner convicted in death of party booker

The co-owner of a Queens nightclub has been convicted of shooting to death a 28-year-old man who had come to book the club for a party.
“A potential business arrangement turned deadly as a verbal dispute ended in gunfire, leaving a young man dead on the floor,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “Instead of notifying authorities, the defendant ordered the victim to be placed in the trunk of his own car, where his body was discovered a week later by the victim’s mother. The actions of the defendant, who fled to Georgia after the shooting, warrants imposition of a lengthy prison sentence to punish him and protect society.”
Antonio Benjamin, 43, of 1409 Thicket Way in Decatur, Georgia, was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a two and one-half week jury trial.
A jury of five women and seven men deliberated for four hours before returning a verdict of guilty before Queens Supreme Court Justice Daniel Lewis who set sentencing for November 20. The defendant, who is being held without bail, faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
According to the trial testimony, Michael Clark, who was employed as a freelance cameraman and a part-time party promoter, went to Dubie’s Palace, a nightclub located at 103-19 Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, on November 30, 2002, and met with the defendant. During their meeting a dispute arose over the party that Clark wanted to have at the club and, in front of three eyewitnesses, Benjamin shot the victim once in the head, causing his death. Benjamin then ordered the eyewitnesses to place the deceased’s body into the trunk of his [Clark’s] Mercedes Benz, which was then driven several blocks away and parked on a dead-end street. The body was discovered a week later by his mother.

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