A 73-year-old St. Albans man was found guilty in connection with the shooting of a Briarwood deli owner in 2021 and the subsequent discovery of a large quantity of heroin in his home, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on May 26.
Following a jury trial, James Fraley, of Farmers Boulevard, was convicted on May 25 of attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.
According to the charges and trial testimony, on the afternoon of Aug. 12, 2021, Fraley entered the Rojas Deli at 146-10 Hillside Ave., ordered a sandwich and then shot the owner, Rufino Rojas-Flores, in the chest. He then turned the gun on the owner’s daughter, who was working behind the counter and demanded the money in the register.
The daughter complied and gave Fraley between $100 and $200 cash and Fraley fled. A deli worker chased him onto Hillside Avenue toward the Parsons Boulevard subway stop. Surveillance video showed the worker running after an older man and it also captured Fraley in the subway stop. The NYPD created a wanted poster from the video.
EMS rushed Rojas-Flores to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries to his liver from the gunshot wound.
On Aug. 17, an officer recognized Fraley from the wanted poster as he got into a car. The officer pulled him over for a traffic violation. When detectives went to Fraley’s home, they found a .357 caliber revolver, a .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition and a safe containing more than 12 ounces of heroin. Drug paraphernalia, including hundreds of glassine envelopes, were also discovered in the home.
At the time of the shooting, Fraley was on lifetime parole for a 1989 murder conviction.
“He killed once before and was armed and willing to do so again,” Katz said. “The jury has spoken and we will be asking the court for an appropriately lengthy sentence.”
Queens Supreme Court Justice Gary Miret set sentencing for June 16. Fraley faces up to 55 years in prison.