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Photo by Ellis Kaplan
051112, Shawn Forde being sentenced on a plea in the Juan Torres Deli murder at kew gardens criminal court today. photos ellis kaplan
By Rich Bockmann

The 29-year-old man who pleaded guilty last month to shooting and killing a Laurelton bodega co-owner who came to his brother’s aid during a botched 2010 robbery was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Shawn Forde, of 137-50 229th St. in Laurelton, received the sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter in April. Forde lived only a few blocks away from the Lucky Deli, at 220-06 Merrick Blvd., and was recognized as a regular customer of the bodega after he shot and killed 54-year old Juan Torres.

According to the criminal charges, Forde entered the Lucky Deli just before 10 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2010. He grabbed co-owner Felix Torres, Juan’s brother, who was working behind the counter, brandished a .45-caliber pistol and slammed the man’s head on the counter, demanding money, the DA said.

After Torres handed Forde money from the register, brother Juan came running out of the back of the store in an attempt to help Felix and was fatally shot in the head by Forde, who quickly fled the scene, according to Brown.

When a family member was shown a photo of Forde, she identified him as a regular customer of the Lucky Deli, and he was later picked out of a police line-up, the NYPD said.

The store had been the site of previous armed robberies, including one that was fatal, and after Torres’ killing community members called for bodega owners to arm themselves, although the Torres family said there is no gun in the store.

The DA said he hoped the 15-year sentence would be a comfort to the Torres family.

“This is a sad and tragic case in which a hardworking family man was killed in a senseless manner,” he said. “With his guilty plea, the defendant has taken responsibility for his actions and thus spared the victim’s family the anguish of a trial. Today’s sentence is a significant one and will hopefully bring solace to the victim’s family.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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