Upstate man sentenced for killing girlfriend, stuffing body in car left in Springfield Gardens: DA

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz joined detectives in Springfield Gardens after the body of 26-year-old Destini Smothers was found stuffed in the trunk of an abandoned car.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

An upstate man who admitted to killing the 26-year-old mother of his two children in 2020 before stuffing her body in a car he left abandoned in Springfield Gardens, was sentenced Thursday in Queens Supreme Court to 22 years in prison.

Kareem Flake, 31, of Troy, N.Y., pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree in July for killing 26-year-old Destini Smothers in November 2020. Her remains were discovered four months later in the trunk of an abandoned car that belonged to Flake.

According to the charges, Destini Smothers, 26, was last seen in a car with Flake after leaving an outing with friends at the Bowlero bowling alley in Woodside, where they had been seen arguing on Nov. 3, 2020, and she was reported missing by her family days later. Four months later, on March 10, 2021, a Toyota Camry that had been abandoned at the intersection of 134th Avenue and 151st Place, on a residential street a block away from Baisley Pond Park in South Jamaica, was being towed away when the tow truck operator saw a flat tire on the vehicle. The tow truck driver from the Department of Sanitation pulled over and opened the trunk to look for a spare. In the trunk, he discovered the decomposing remains of the victim and immediately notified authorities.

Kareem Flake was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing the mother of his two children and then hiding her remains in a car he left abandoned in Springfield Gardens in 2020. Courtesy of the Queens DA’s office

During the course of the subsequent investigation, it was determined that the car belonged to Flake, the charges state. An autopsy performed by the New York City Medical Examiner found that Smothers died from a gunshot wound to her head.

Flake was arrested on April 9, 2022, in Osceola County, Florida, and later extradited back to Queens last July to face justice.

“The depravity of this man’s actions left Destini Smothers’ family to agonize for months about her whereabouts and her two young children to grow up without a mother,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “I hope this sentence will afford some peace to Destini’s loved ones.”

Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise sentenced Flake to 22 years in prison to be followed by five years post-release supervision.