Bushwick Drug Dealer Sentenced To Life In Prison For Orchestrating Two Contract Murders
One Shooting Resulted in the Death of an Innocent Bystander
Earlier today, Brooklyn drug trafficker Shaun Taylor, also known as “S-Dot,” was sentenced to ten life terms plus 50 years in prison. Following a three-week jury trial, Taylor was convicted on September 8, 2014, of all charges including murder for hire, drug-related murder, narcotics trafficking conspiracy, and firearms offenses. The charges arose from the defendant’s participation in a decade-long narcotics trafficking operation in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, which was responsible for distributing kilogram quantities of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Taylor ordered two murders during the conspiracy, one of which resulted in the death of an unintended victim, whom Taylor’s hitman shot in a case of mistaken identity.
The sentence was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
The evidence at trial established that Taylor frequently recruited young men to settle scores on his behalf. When another drug dealer stole the cellular telephone Taylor used to conduct his narcotics business, he recruited Timothy Pinkney to murder him. On April 29, 2005, Taylor offered Pinkney $1,500 to carry out the hit, drove Pinkney to the scene, and mistakenly directed him to shoot Terrance Barnett, who was standing in front of a school in Bushwick. Barnett just happened to be visiting Brooklyn for the weekend and had no prior relationship with Taylor or Pinkney. Pinkney shot Barnett in the head and torso at close range, killing him. Pinkney subsequently pled guilty to his role in the murder and is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence.
Two years later, Taylor and a co-conspirator stole approximately five kilograms of cocaine that was shipped to Joseph Vargas. Fearing Vargas might retaliate, Taylor hired two young men to kill him. On June 20, 2007, Taylor drove with the men to point out Vargas, who was at a car wash on DeKalb Avenue in Bushwick. Taylor provided the murder weapon and left the scene. One of the men entered the carwash and shot Vargas and his brother. Vargas’s brother survived, but Vargas was killed.
“The defendant was responsible for two murders – one, another drug dealer, the other, an innocent bystander who tragically was in the wrong place at the wrong time – once again demonstrating the inextricable link between drug trafficking and wanton violence. Taylor will now spend the rest of his life behind bars for his depraved acts,” stated United States Attorney Capers. Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department for their outstanding work in this case.
“Shaun Taylor has shown a disregard for human life by paying others to do his dirty work for him, all so he could maintain total control over his drug trade in Brooklyn. In his desire to seek revenge, an innocent man Terrance Barnett died for no reason. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work every day to stop the corrosive effects the drug trade has on our communities,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
The sentence was imposed by Chief United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry.
The government’s case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Amatruda, David Pitluck, and Tali Farhadian.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 10-CR-268