A St. Albans man who engaged in a one-hour felony spree in February 2010 was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison last week on charges that included the attempted murder of a police officer.
Darius Lowery, 25, was one of two men convicted in March in connection with a rampage that went through three precincts and involved a stolen car, a home invasion robbery, an armed street robbery and shots fired at officers Steven Betts and Shawn Phillips during a brief but wild car chase.
“This case is a reminder of the demanding and dangerous challenges that police officers face every day in protecting the public,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement released by his office on May 17.
“Thanks to the officers’ quick action in this case, the defendants’ hour-long crime spree netted them nothing more than spending the rest of their lives behind bars,” Brown added.
The men were convicted after a five-week trial. Queens County Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder handed down the sentence.
Lowery’s co-defendant, Urban Fermin, 33, of Ozone Park, received 30 years to life.
Both men were convicted of first- and second-degree attempted murder, first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree attempted assault, attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, first-degree burglary, first- and second-degree robbery, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and third-degree unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.
According to evidence produced at trial, Lowery and Fermin stole a white Ford Focus at 7:35 a.m. on Feb. 2, 2010 from in front of a home in St. Albans.
At about 8:10 a.m., a 72-year-old South Ozone Park woman answered her door to the sight of two masked men who pushed their way inside her residence, displayed handguns and announced a robbery.
One man stayed with the woman and her daughter while the other ransacked the house.
They took a cash, a digital camera, jewelry, a Nintendo Wii gaming system and a Westinghouse flat-screen television before fleeing the scene in a white car.
At approximately 8:27 a.m. a 35-year-old Ozone Park woman saw a white vehicle drive past her on the street and heard it stop.
She subsequently was robbed at gunpoint, the man taking her purse and rummaging through her pockets to take her credit card, driver’s license, cell phone and cash.
A man later identified as Fermin was in the driver’s seat
Officers Phillips and Betts observed the Ford Focus at the intersection of 130th Street and Foch Boulevard seconds after the street robbery.
As they attempted to stop the men, the car took off at high speed, at times traveling the wrong way down one-way streets.
While heading south on Sutphin Boulevard, Lowery leaned out the window of the car and fired at least eight shots at the pursuing officers.
Fermin and Lowery jumped from the moving vehicle on 153rd Street between 118th and 119th avenues. Lowery was reaching for his waistband, drawing fire from Betts and Phillips. Neither defendant was hit.
The car rolled down the street until it crashed, with proceeds from the robberies inside.
Fermin was arrested near the site of the crash, while Lowery was apprehended about 12 hours later at his residence.