Three men have been accused of killing two African immigrants they allegedly kidnapped in 2009 from a Woodbury condo owned by a former New York Jets star linebacker and then dumping their bodies in New York City in connection with a so-called “black money scam.”
The suspects allegedly abducted the men on March 26, 2009 when the victims tried to get the suspects to give them money to buy chemicals to rinse black die from dollar-size paper they alleged was real money, authorities said. Both victims were found dead of gunshot wounds the next day.
Andre Dickenson was charged with first-degree murder while fellow Brooklyn resident Jovany Henrius and Kevin McLeod of Queens were each charged with second-degree murder. All three 31-year-old men were charged with kidnapping, weapons possession and tampering with physical evidence.
“This brutal and violent crime was premeditated and executed with precision by these three defendants,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
McLeod and Henrius pleaded not guilty and are being held at Nassau County jail after a judge set bail for both men at $1 million. Dickenson, who was being held in Queens on unrelated gun charges, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead.
Prosecutors said the suspects kidnapped Bronx residents Sekou Sackor and Ansu Keita from a condo owned by Henrius’s cousin, former Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Witnesses told investigators they saw a body being thrown from the Paerdegat Basin Bridge on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn less than two hours after other witnesses reported hearing gunshots near Vilma’s condo.
NYPD officers found Sackor’s bullet-riddled body under the bridge shortly later. Keita was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head on a deserted street in Queens near the Brooklyn border later the same morning.
The arrests are the culmination of a joint investigation between Nassau County police, Homicide detectives in Queens and Brooklyn as well as the Queens Stolen Car Task Force.
Nassau County police declined to comment on the case.
Vilma, who had his best season with 169 tackles for the Jets in 2005, is not accused of any wrongdoing. He now plays for the New Orleans Saints.
McLeod’s Northport-based attorney, Andrew Karpf, said authorities have the wrong guy.
“I don’t doubt that Nassau County jurors will acquit” McLeod, Karpf said
Aaron Altman, Henrius’ Manhattan-based attorney, was not immediately available for comment. It was not immediately clear if Dickenson had hired an attorney.
Henrius is due back in court June 8 and McLeod is due back June 2.