The business partner of a slain Nesconset lawyer pleaded not guilty to upgraded charges Monday in Riverhead, as did one of the three people prosecutors said were hired to carry out the killing.
Ronald Thornton" id="PEBSL000052">Ronald Thornton, 37, is accused of paying $8,000 to three people to kill James DiMartino" id="PEBSL000051">James DiMartino outside a Commack restaurant on Oct. 20.
The accused trigger man, Darnell Festus" id="PECLB004389">Darnell Festus, 23, pleaded not guilty to the upgraded charges Monday. Hinrichs ordered him held without bail.
Festus' accused partner, Donovan Raysor, 20, is still in jail and expected to be arraigned on the new charges Tuesday.
Thornton, along with Monique Randall, 19, her boyfriend Raysor, and
Festus, an acquaintance from their Queens neighborhood, were all
initially charged with second-degree murder in what police called a
The charges were upgraded after Randall, a stripper who knew Thornton
as a customer in the club where she worked, said in court last week
that she helped arrange DiMartino's killing at Thornton's request. She
pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of 15 years to life, the
minimum for second-degree murder.
Thornton, who has worked as a real estate broker, met the trio at Shady
Al's Lounge on Jericho Turnpike, a few hundred yards from where
DiMartino was shot once in the head Oct. 20, police say.
Upgraded Charges in Death of Lawyer James DiMartino
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