Far Rockaway Woman Faces Felonies
A Far Rockaway mother whose seven-year-old son brought a handgun to school last Thursday, Jan. 17, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and-following the execution of a search warrant at her residence-unlawful possession of marijuana.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendant as Deborah Farley, 53, of Cornaga Avenue in Far Rockaway. She was arraigned last Friday, Jan. 18, in Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens before Judge Mary R. O’Donoghue, who ordered her held on $35,000 bail and to return to court on Feb. 6.
“[Farley] faces serious criminal charges,” said Brown. “It is disturbing to think of what could have potentially occurred in this case if authorities had not found out about the handgun when they did. Illegal firearms pose a serious and deadly threat to public safety.”
According to the criminal complaint, Farley went to the principal’s office at P.S. 362 (Wave Preparatory Elementary School), located at 535 Briar Pl. in Far Rockaway, between the hours of 10 and 11 a.m. last Thursday, purportedly to pick up her seven-year-old son for a dental appointment.
Shortly after leaving the school, law enforcement sources said, Farley allegedly returned to the principal’s office and said that she believed that her son had given a gun to a friend in the school, stating that one of her sons had put the gun, which was in a purple bag, inside of her seven-yearold’s school bag at their home. The principal reportedly searched the friend’s school bag and found an orange and black flare gun in the bag.
In searching Farley’s son’s school bag, which was in her possession at the time, police allegedly recovered a .22-cal. firearm, a full magazine with ten .22-cal. rounds of ammunition and a clear bag containing fourteen .22-cal. rounds of ammunition from a purple bag inside of the school bag.
The complaint additionally alleges that Farley made statements to police in which she said, in sum and substance, that she had purchased the .22 caliber pistol back in June or July for protection because when she came home there were people hanging around in the stairwell, and that before she had left her apartment the night before she had put the .22 caliber gun in her son’s school bag, along with the flare gun-which had been in the house for a while and which she knew to be unloaded because her kids had played with it in the past.
Farley also allegedly stated that after she dropped her son off at the school about 7:50 a.m., she realized sometime before 10 a.m. that she had left the guns in her son’s school bag and returned to the school, telling the principal that she needed to take her son to the dentist.
Once outside the school, Farley allegedly checked her son’s school bag and asked him where was the gun, to which he replied that he had given the gun to a friend. Farley then went back to the school and told the principal that there was a gun in the school.
It is alleged that Farley also admitted that the original story that she had told the principal and police was a lie because she was afraid of going to jail for possessing the gun and that the ammunition recovered was hers and that she had it for a while.
Finally, the criminal complaint alleges that in executing a court-authorized search warrant at Farley’s Cornaga Avenue residence at approximately 10:45 p.m. last Thursday, police recovered four rounds of .22-cal. ammunition in a cardboard box in a bedroom in one apartment and seven small bags of marijuana from bedrooms in a second apartment.
The investigation was conducted by police officers and detectives assigned to the 101st Precinct and the 101st Precinct Detective Squad.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael R. Whitney of the District Attorney’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney James W. Evangelou, bureau chief, and Robert J. Hanophy, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Trials James C. Quinn and Executive Assistant District Attorney Robert J. Masters.
It was noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.