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May 3, 2013

Jury Convicts Queens Man of Murder in Shooting Death of Robbery Victim

Plowden and co-defendant met with victim to purchase drugs; faces 25 years to life in prison

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Queens man has been convicted of murder and robbery charges after the shooting death of a victim he and another man were robbing in Freeport.

It took a jury two days to convict Jerod Plowden, 25, of St. Albans, of Murder in the Second Degree, three counts of Robbery in the First Degree, and Robbery in the Second Degree. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison and is due back in court for sentencing June 6.

Rice said that at approximately 1:35 p.m. on April 12, 2011, Plowden and another man, Nolan Gaugler, met with the victim, Moez Hassan, outside of an abandoned house on Steven Street in Freeport under the auspices of buying Xanax pills from him. Before the transaction could take place, however, Plowden and Gaugler robbed the victim of 75 Xanax pills and approximately $30 at gunpoint.

Hassan, 23, of Queens, was then shot five times, once in the head, chest, and left arm, and twice in the abdomen. The Nassau County Police Department’s ShotSpotter system picked up the sound of the gunshots and automatically alerted police to the area. Gaugler fled eastbound on foot down Steven Street and was caught within minutes by police several blocks from the scene of the murder, still in possession of the stolen drugs and cash.

Plowden, who fled through the backyard, was arrested 16 days later in Suffolk County after the vehicle he was a passenger in was pulled over in a routine traffic stop. Gaugler, 21, of Mineola, pleaded guilty to Robbery in the First Degree in exchange for a promised prison sentence of 16 years.

The jury rejected the defense’s claim that Gaugler acted alone. The jury acquitted Plowden of Murder in the First Degree, one count of Murder in the Second Degree, and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree.

“Luring a victim to an abandoned home under false pretenses only to rob and murder him makes this not just a crime of brutality, but of cowardice,” Rice said. “Jerod Plowden and Nolan Gaugler had every opportunity to stop this murder before it happened, but neither had the courage to walk away and now lengthy prison sentences and a dead young man are all that’s left.”

Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Nickerson and Jessica Cepriano of the DA’s Major Offense Bureau are prosecuting the case. Plowden is represented by Michael DerGarabedian, Esq.