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Murder of Shopkeeper from The Gambia and The Bronx Yields 7 Year Sentence For SDNY Cooperator

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC The Times (UK) The Source 

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 16 –   Bubacarr Camara came to The Bronx from The Gambia, hoping to bring his wife and son to join him. Every day he woke up and went to work in the BNC General Merchandise T-shirt Spot on Manhattan's Upper West Side, on Amsterdam Avenue near 104th Street.   

  Then in the middle of the day on June 18, 2015 he was shot and killed by robbers. Along with the $279 they stole from Bubacarr Camara, they also took the store's rudimentary video surveillance camera.  They threw the camera and storage device, but not the money, into the river.

    Four and a half years later on November 15, 2019 a man who pled guilty to the murder of Bubacarr Camara came up for sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Paul G. Gardephe.

    In the gallery where Inner City Press was the only media, there were a number of Assistant US Attorneys but no family member or friend of Bubacarr Camara while he had been alive.    AUSA Jessica Feinstein, signing for US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, had a week before written to Judge Gardephe that "we have been unsuccessful at contacting the family members of murder victim Bubacarr Camara."

    Of course, this can happen when sentencing takes place long after the murder and also long after the guilty plea. The government's letter gives no indication of any attempt to reach Bubacarr's friends or co-workers such as Dong Kun Cho, or his many family members in The Gambia.

    Why in the courtroom's gallery along with Inner City Press were there detectives and Assistant US Attorneys? Was it to avenge Bubacarr Camara or avenge his distant family and still-young son?

No. It's that this defendant had, after the murder, agreed to cooperate with the US Attorney's office.

    Now he was asking to be released for "time served," and the US Attorney's office in context supported the request in their 5K1 letter.     Despite having covered the trial in which this defendant testified, Inner City Press is choosing here not to publish his name.

  His lawyer, whom we will also leave unnamed, argued that he will be in danger (though not as much, it must be noted, as Bubacarr Camara was at midday on the Upper West Side of Manhattan).

   AUSA Feinstein requested, and Judge Gardephe granted, the sealing of the transcript of the sentencing and most documents connected to it.

    The court docket is left with an indictment, under then US Attorney Preet Bharara, that did not even name the victim and decedent, Bubacarr Camara, and got the address of his place of work and place of death wrong, listing it as 2251 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan.

   While the US Sentencing Guidelines in this case of murder called for a life sentence - plus 15 years - Judge Gardephe imposed a sentence of seven years, which minus the 52 months to defendant has already served while cooperating with the government comes to 32 additional months, or two years and eight months.

    Seven years for a human life should be subject to scrutiny and public debate; certainly the victim's family, friends and community have a right to know, denied to them by the sealing of these records. It could have been worse, or more lenient: recently a man who bribed the United Nations, Francis Lorenzo, got time served at the urging of SDNY prosecutors, here.

    Inner City Press will have more on this. It is also covering at least three recent trials in which cooperating witnesses were used in exchange for 5K1 letters and requests for time served, starting with Daniel Hernandex a/k/a Tekashi 6ix9ine (who the US Attorney's Office also called a model cooperator), to be sentenced by SDNY Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on December 18. Inner City Press will live-tweet the proceeding if it can.

    Then there are those who took greater risk in testifying against the brother of Honduras' current president. One, Magdaleno, whose notebooks were introduced at trial before SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel has since been assassinated in a supposedly maximum security prison in Honduras.

  It is unclear if the SDNY US Attorney's Office or DOJ have done anything about this crime which is presumptively traceable to the president of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez.

    Most recently Inner City Press has been covering the cooperation of OneCoin found Ruja Ignatova's brother Konstantin Ignatov, part of a $4 billion fraud. Inner City Press' coverage has been credited by the BBC, The Times (UK), Daily Mail, and in the crypto-currency media.   

   But who will cover this sentencing for the murder of Bronxite Bubacarr Camara originally from The Gambia? And not to write about it, even with this self-imposed restrictions, would be to become complicit in this very human life cut short right in Manhattan in the Southern District of New York, and to leave its judges and prosecutors without any oversight. Watch this site.


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