A 39-year-old Nesconset man was convicted after a month-long trial in Suffolk County court on Tuesday of hiring three people to kill his business partner in Commack a year and a half ago.
After two days of deliberations, a jury found Ronald Thornton, a former mortgage broker, guilty of first-degree murder for arranging the murder of 44-year-old James DiMartino, his attorney, in the parking lot of a Korean restaurant on Oct. 20, 2008. Prior to his murder, DiMartino was representing Thornton in a grand larceny case when Thornton told authorities that DiMartino was involved in mortgage fraud, but those allegations never materialized.
Suffolk County prosecutors will recommend Thornton receives life in prison without parole.
“This victim was executed in a parking lot, leaving a widow and four young girls,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement. “The defendant deserves the maximum punishment the law allows.”
He will be sentenced before Judge C. Randall Hinrichs on April 14.
Thornton was also found guilty of conspiracy for plotting from his Suffolk County jail cell to kidnap the daughter of his 30-year-old codefendant, Monique Randall, to prevent her from testifying against him. Thornton had reportedly offered the deed to a house that was later found to be in foreclosure to an undercover officer who he believed was a hit man in exchange for the kidnapping.
Randall pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and testified that Thornton met her in a strip club and asked her to enlist someone to “do the job” to murder DiMartino, prosecutors said.
She recruited two Queens men, Donovan Raysor, 22, and Darnell Festus, 25, to kill DiMartino for $8,000, prosecutors said. She will be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Raysor and Festus are awaiting trial on murder and conspiracy charges.