Murder, robbery arrests
Four days after an actress was shot to death in a robbery on the Lower East Side, police arrested a 19-year-old suspect who had been staying with his godfather in the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side. A day later, police arrested the suspects 14-year-old girlfriend on a murder charge in connection with what police said was her role in the robbery.
The suspect, Rudy Fleming, of Staten Island, was on parole at the time of the incident after serving two years of a five-year sentence for pulling a gun on high school security guards when he was 16.
Fleming was arrested on Mon., Jan. 31 at the ferry landing in Staten Island and charged with first degree murder and weapon possession in the shooting death of Nicole duFresne, 28, of Greenpoint.
Flemings girlfriend, Tatiana McDonald, a Brooklyn resident, was charged on Tuesday with second degree murder and first degree robbery as a juvenile and could serve 15 years to life if convicted.
Fleming had been staying during the previous week with his godfather, Servino Simmon, and Simmons two sons, Servano, 17 and Servisio, 23, at the Baruch Houses, according to police.
The two Simmon brothers were questioned as witnesses in connection with the hold-up murder but were not charged and are expected to testify in the case. A cousin of the Simmon brothers, David Simmon, 18, and a 15-year-old boy whose name was withheld because of his age, were also charged in connection with an attempted robbery earlier that night of the bouncer of a neighboring bar.
DuFresne, who had just finished her shift at Rockwood, a Lower East Side bar that had its opening night on Wednesday, was out with her boyfriend, Jeffrey Sparks, and another couple, when they were held-up at the corner of Rivington and Clinton Sts., at about 3:10 a.m. Thurs., Jan. 27 after having a few drinks at a nearby bar, Max Fish.
After Fleming hit Sparks in the face with his gun, duFresne asked him, What are you going to do, shoot us? according to reports. Fleming fired one shot that hit duFresne in the chest, grabbed the other womans bag and tossed it to McDonald who took out a cell phone and threw the bag away, police said. Fleming, McDonald and others in the gang fled north on Clinton St., police said.
Detectives on Sun., Jan. 30 went to Simmons Baruch Houses apartment, where Fleming had been staying, and found a .357 caliber revolver believed to be the murder weapon and a pair of white tennis sneakers with blood stains, police said. A neighboring bars surveillance camera recorded an image of Fleming wearing white sneakers earlier on the fatal night, police said.
DuFresne was a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, a founding member of Present Tense Theater and a playwright, actor and producer who also studied and acted at LAByrinth Theater Co. According to newspaper reports, duFresne had survived being raped while a student at Emerson. She was a native of Minnesota and was to have been married to Sparks in October.
Bust burglar suspects
First Precinct anti-crime police, who were staked out at 90 William St. on Friday night-Saturday morning Jan. 28-29, arrested two suspects in connection with a series of office burglaries in the building.
Police Officer Tim Wilson apprehended Maxwell Farries, 37, and William Hall, 39, at 4:10 a.m. and charged them with attempting to remove electronic equipment valued at $580 from an office in the building where commercial tenants had been burglary victims on two previous occasions, once in December and again on Jan. 22.
Hall had been arrested for a First Precinct burglary in 1997 and was recently released from prison, according to police.
Five men walked into an electronics store at 200 Church St. between Duane and Thomas Sts. at 5:45 p.m.,Wed., Jan. 26 when one of them pulled a knife and challenged an employee, saying Come near me! police said. One of the other robbers pushed open a display case and took cell phones with a total value of $548. The gang fled on foot, police said.
A couple who parked their 2003 Ford Blazer at the northwest corner of Broadway and Walker St. on Fri., Jan 28 returned at 2 p.m. and found it missing, police said.
A burglar or burglars broke into a clothing store at 28 Warren St. sometime on the night of Wed., Jan. 26 and made off with $100 in cash and $800 worth of coats, police said. The thieves raised the pull-up gate to enter the lobby of the building and then force open another gate to enter the store, police said.
Historic club break-in
Unknown burglars broke into a construction site in the Downtown Athletic Club building at 19 West St. sometime on Thursday night Jan. 27 and made off with a laptop computer and several articles of work clothes, police said.
A resident of 45 Lispenard St. who returned home from work on the Thursday evening Jan. 20 noticed the front door to his apartment was damaged and found the apartment in shambles, police said. A lap top computer and jewelry were missing.
A thief who forced open a rear winding of a store at 107 Sullivan St. between Prince and Spring Sts. sometime on Wed, Jan. 26 entered the place and took $100 from the cash register, police said.