Murderer Of Mill Basin Merchant, Others Pleads Guilty;
Will Get Life
By Charles Rogers -
November 27, 2003
The man responsible for killing a Mill Basin mini-market
owner and three other merchants during a killing spree last February and
March has pleaded guilty and will go to jail for life.
According to Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for
District Attorney Charles Hynes, Larme Price, 30, of Crown Heights,
admitted last week in court that he was a "serial killer" who slew
people who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent to avenge the
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. Price originally
faced the death penalty in two out of the four counts of murder for
which he was arrested because they took place during the commission of a
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last April —
shortly after Price gave himself up at the 75th Precinct — that he had
killed the shopkeepers, all immigrants, out of a hatred for Arabs.
However, two of the victims were immigrants of Indian descent, one was
from the Ukraine and the other was from Yemen.
The series of killings beg an on February 8 when John
Freddy, a 43-year-old store owner was killed on a Sunday morning in his
grocery in Ozone Park, Queens. Two hour later, Sujit (Sammny) Khajala,
50, owner of Around-The-Clock Mini Market at 5803 Avenue N was gunned
On March 10, Albert Kotlyar, 32, was killed in his
laundromat in Bedford Stuyvesant. Ten days later, Mohammed Abdul Nasser
Ali, 54, was shot and killed as he stood in the doorway to his store at
the corner of Eastern Parkway and Buffalo Avenue. Ali’s cousin was also
critically wounded at the time.
Schmetterer corroborated sources that said Price has
a history of mental illness and arrests. He said as part of the deal
struck with the D.A.’s office and Supreme Court Judge Neil Firetog,
Price will get life without parole as his sentence, which will be
formally pronounced in February.
Murder Indictment Is Presented
Against Suspect in 4 Killings
By Robert F. Worth - The New York
Sunday, April 13, 2003
The man suspected of carrying out four unprovoked
slayings of shopkeepers in Brooklyn and Queens earlier this year was
indicted Friday on first-degree murder charges that specified the crime
as a serial killing, the authorities said.
The suspect, Larme Price, 30, was arrested in Crown
Heights on March 29 and confessed to the four killings, the police said.
Mr. Price was indicted on three counts of first-degree
murder in the four killings, a crime for which he could face the death
penalty, a spokesman for the district attorney's office in Brooklyn said.
Two charges are for murder committed during the
course of a robbery, the spokesman said, and the third count charges Mr.
Price as a serial killer. Serial killing is one of 12 categories under
New York State's first-degree murder law, passed in 1995.
The indictment, which has yet to be filed, was
announced on Friday in a hearing before Criminal Court Judge William
Garnett in Brooklyn, and first reported yesterday in the New York Post.
Mr. Price was not present at the hearing, and is expected to be
arraigned in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn before the end of the month,
After that arraignment, Brooklyn District Attorney
Charles J. Hynes must decide within 120 days whether to seek the death
Mr. Price is also facing other charges in connection
with the killings, including multiple counts of second-degree murder,
A call to the state's capital defender's office,
which is representing Mr. Price, was not returned yesterday.
Mr. Price shot his victims in the head, the police
have said, usually without demanding money. The first two slayings took
place on Feb. 8, and a task force of 20 detectives was soon formed to
track down the killer. The last killing took place on March 20, when the
police say Mr. Price fatally shot one employee and seriously wounded
another at a food market less than a block from Mr. Price's home in
After confessing on March 29 to the four slayings,
investigators said, Mr. Price told them he was motivated by a desire to
kill people of Middle Eastern descent after the terror attack of Sept.
11, 2001. Only one of the four victims, all foreign-born men, was from
the Middle East, but Mr. Price apparently believed that they all were,
the police said.
Mr. Price, who has a record of arrests for robbery,
burglary, and other crimes, also told investigators he had been taking
PCP, a drug that can induce paranoia and delusions. His mother, Leatha
Price, told reporters after his arrest that her son had a history of
mental problems as well as drug abuse.
'Vibes Made Man Kill... and Confess, Police Say
By Shaila K. Dewan - The New York Times
Tuesday, April 1, 2003
For Larme Price, the man who the police say has
confessed to four unprovoked killings in Brooklyn and Queens, life was
increasingly controlled by vibes.
There were the bad vibes, investigators said, that
told him whom to shoot dead. There were the cars on the street whose
vibrations told him where to go. But there were also, the police said he
told them, the good vibes. He felt them when he presented himself on
Friday night at the 77th Precinct station house and met Tony Viggiani.
Detective Viggiani, Mr. Price apparently told the
police later, seemed like someone he could trust. Someone who could help
And that, said Lt. John Cornicello, a key member of
the task force searching for the man initially known as the Saturday
Shooter, was what led to a highly unusual confession that came not in an
interrogation room, in front of a video camera, but over a cellphone,
from a man walking free, if tearfully, on the streets of Crown Heights.
''In all the intensity of these situations, it always
ends up sounding like the guy came in and gave himself up,'' Lieutenant
Cornicello said. ''But he would have walked out and continued doing what
he was doing if he wasn't treated in a certain way.''
Yesterday, Mr. Price was arraigned on six counts of
murder and one of attempted murder. He was ordered held without bail
under a suicide watch. The police believe that he killed four people,
but that two of the killings were committed during robberies, warranting
the extra murder counts.
On Friday, Mr. Price did walk out of the precinct
house, after telling Detective Viggiani and Detective Jeannie Valentin,
members of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad, that the person behind the
shooting was a man called ''Dog.''
He left behind his cellphone number -- and two
detectives with a hunch that there was no such person as ''Dog.''
The next day, Detective Viggiani called Mr. Price,
asking for more help. That is when Mr. Price broke down, saying, ''I'm
the guy you're looking for,'' according to Lieutenant Cornicello.
Detective Viggiani, who is also a hostage negotiator,
kept Mr. Price on the line for at least 10 minutes, while he and
Detective Valentin jumped into a car and sped to meet him in front of
his parents' apartment on Eastern Parkway.
The investigators soon had Mr. Price talking about
why he had killed four shopkeepers, all immigrants, since Feb. 8,
Lieutenant Cornicello said. There had been much speculation over the
gunman's motivation: Did he hate people he perceived as foreigners? Was
his blood lust, investigators mused, the result of all-night drug binges?
On Sunday, the police said that Mr. Price had claimed
he wanted to kill Arabs in revenge for the Sept. 11 attacks. But only
one of the men he shot was of Middle Eastern origin.
''As much as he says he had something against Middle
Eastern people, he actually -- he hated everybody,'' Lieutenant
Cornicello said. ''He expressed feelings against a lot of different
people during this interview,'' he said, adding, ''He felt he was
patriotic. He was a patriotic killer. He wanted to enlist in the Army.''
Lieutenant Cornicello said Mr. Price did not seem to
have planned his killings. ''He went in to buy a pack of gum, and he got
'bad vibes.' He mentioned that he was in several stores that he got bad
vibes, but he didn't have the gun. He would go back but the store would
be closed, or he wouldn't be able to get in.''
Mr. Price also told the police that he had been using
PCP, a powerful narcotic whose effects include delusions, paranoia and,
sometimes, a feeling of invincibility.
Detectives believe they also solved the mystery of
how Mr. Price had traveled from Crown Heights to Ozone Park to Mill
Basin to Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhoods where the slayings took
place: They found a baseball cap, the one the suspect had been wearing
in surveillance video tapes, in the trunk of his father's Lexus.
They were still trying yesterday to tie up one loose
end. They were looking for the .40-caliber pistol used in three of the
shootings, which they said Mr. Price claimed to have sold.
On Sunday, Mr. Price's mother, Leatha Price, told
reporters that her son had a history of drug abuse and mental health
problems, and that Sept. 11 had been particularly hard on him. She said
she had tried to get him medical help, but hospitals had released him.
Hospital records show that Mr. Price was treated at
Kings County Hospital Center on Oct. 6, 2001, and at Woodhull Medical
and Mental Health Center on March 9, 2003. On March 10, the police say,
he fatally shot Albert Kotlyar, who was working the night shift at the
Laundry King Superstore in Bedford-Stuyvesant, because he felt that the
man had disrespected him.
People who know Mr. Price, who has a record of
arrests for burglary, robbery and assault going back to 1989, said that
his inability to support his children was a source of pain and
embarrassment for him, but that he did not talk about his problems.
''Maybe whatever demons that were in his head, making
him kill, maybe he tried to get away from them by turning himself in,''
said Prince Cooper, 27, who said he had grown up in Crown Heights with
Mr. Price. ''Maybe that way he knew he could get help.''
By Charles Rogers - CanarsieCourier.com
April 3, 2003
A man allegedly responsible for the murders of at
least four shopkeepers and referred to by police and others as a "thrill
killer," surrendered at the 75 Precinct stationhouse last weekend,
Larme Price, 30, of Crown Heights, admitted to the
vicious killing spree after he at first told detectives that a man
referred to as "Dog" was the killer responsible for the execution-style
slayings, one of which took place on Avenue N in Mill Basin. After
further interrogation, however, Price admitted he was the man
responsible, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who held a
press conference after the suspect gave up.
A spokesman for Kings County District Attorney
Charles Hynes said Price was arraigned on Monday and remanded without
bail, facing six counts of murder, two of which could result in the
death penalty because they took place during the commission of a robbery.
The police commissioner said Price walked into the
East New York stationhouse on Friday and told detectives they should
look for a man named "Dog" and offered to help them track him down. But
after the detectives noticed Price had certain characteristics that
would indicate he was the suspect, including a peculiar pigeon-toed walk,
he broke down on Sunday, saying he had been acting on "urges."
Kelly said Price had apparently killed the
shopkeepers — all immigrants — out of a hatred for Arabs after the World
Trade Center tragedy. However, two of the murder victims were immigrants
of Indian descent, one was from the Ukraine and another was from Yemen.
The series of killings began on February 8 when John
Freddy, a 43-year-old store owner was killed on a Saturday morning in
his grocery in Ozone Park, Queens. Two hours later, Sukjit (Sammy)
Khajala, 50, a store owner of the Around-the-Clock Mini-Market at 5803
Avenue N, was gunned down. On March 10, Albert Kotlyar, 32, was killed
in his laundromat in Bedford Stuyvesant and then, ten days later,
Mohammed Abdul Nasser Ali, 54, was shot and killed at about 10:30 a.m.
as he stood in the doorway to his store at the corner of Eastern Parkway
and Buffalo Avenue. His cousin, Yakoob Abdul Aldailam, 22 who was behind
the counter, was critically wounded.
In his press conference, Commissioner Kelly said, "One
man’s twisted view led to the murder of four innocent people. This
department will not tolerate crimes against immigrants or crimes born of
The district attorney’s spokesman said Price is also
being charged with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon and
two counts of attempted murder.
'Sept. 11 Killer' Charged in New
Monday, March 31, 2003
NEW YORK — A man
with a history of mental problems was charged Monday with killing four
immigrants since February, including three apparent victims of misplaced
rage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The victims were shot at point-blank
range without provocation in convenience stores and an all-night laundry.
Police say his main motivation was exacting revenge for the terrorist
Larme Price told a detective that he
shot three victims -- one Guyanese, one Indian and one Yemeni -- because
he believed each was of Middle Eastern descent, a criminal complaint
said. He said he shot a Russian-born man because he "felt bad vibes"
about him, the complaint added.
Price, 30, was
ordered held without bail following his arraignment on charges of first-degree
murder, second-degree attempted murder and criminal possession of a
weapon. He was placed on suicide watch at the request of his attorney,
"Our first concern is for Mr.
Price's physical well-being," Youngblood told reporters.
The defendant's relatives refused to
comment as they left the courthouse.
The killings began on Feb. 8 with
the shooting of John Freddy, 40, a Guyana native drinking coffee at a
Queens convenience store as he waited to go to work at a supermarket
across the street. A surveillance camera showed a man in a dark coat,
baseball cap and hooded sweat shirt shooting Freddy behind the ear.
About two hours later at a Brooklyn
store, Indian immigrant Sukhjit Khajala, 50, was fatally shot in the
face with the same .40-caliber revolver used in Freddy's killing,
authorities said. Police said $169 was taken from the cash register by a
man who shot Khajala after a brief conversation, then walked away slowly.
Russian-born laundry manager Albert
Kotlyar, 32, was killed March 10. Ten days later, Mohammed Ali Nassir,
54, was shot and killed while sitting near the door of the Stop II Food
Market. Another employee was wounded.
Police said Larme, who has two
children and a pregnant girlfriend, apparently began having second
thoughts about the shootings after reading the Sixth Commandment in the
Bible: "Thou shall not kill."
Price's mother, Leatha Price, told
reporters that her son struggled with drug abuse and had mental problems
that were exacerbated by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She said
she tried unsuccessfully to have him admitted to Woodhull Hospital in
Woodhull records reportedly show
that he was treated at the hospital's Non-Urgent Care Center on March 9
and was released.
Police said they matched a pistol
recovered from the home of Price's girlfriend to the shooting of Nassir.
They also recovered a baseball cap, hooded sweat shirt and jacket they
believe Price wore during the shootings.
Police Arrest Brooklyn Man
In Slayings of 4 Shopkeepers
By Robert F. Worth - The New York Times
Monday, March 31, 2003
The police have arrested a Brooklyn man who they
believe has shot and killed four shopkeepers without provocation in
Brooklyn and Queens since early last month, Commissioner Raymond W.
Kelly announced last night.
The suspect, Larme Price, 30, confessed on Saturday
to the four slayings, which terrorized residents and small-business
owners and had been described as the work of a serial killer, the police
said. Mr. Price said he was motivated by a desire to kill people of
Middle Eastern descent after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr.
Kelly said at a news conference at police headquarters.
Only one of the four victims, all foreign-born men,
was from the Middle East, but Mr. Price was apparently under the
impression that they all were, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Price, the police say, shot the four victims in
the head, usually without demanding money. He will be prosecuted first
by the district attorney's office in Brooklyn, where three of the
killings took place, Mr. Kelly said. A law enforcement official said
charges would include multiple counts of first-degree murder, a crime
that could be punishable by death. He will also face two counts of
attempted murder, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Price drew attention to himself when he walked
into the 77th Precinct station house on Friday night and offered to help
the police find the killer, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Price told investigators the killer went by the
nickname ''Dog'' and ''appeared eager to help the investigation,'' Mr.
Kelly noted. The investigators quickly became suspicious of Mr. Price,
whose walk and appearance, they say, resembled that of the killer. They
did not have enough evidence to detain him. But the next day, speaking
to investigators on a cellphone, Mr. Price broke down and confessed to
the killings, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Price said he was confessing because he had been
reading the Bible, particularly the commandment ''Thou shalt not kill,''
Mr. Kelly said, and because he was concerned about his two daughters.
The police said Mr. Price did not appear to have been
involved in a fifth fatal shooting that took place at an auto parts
store in East New York, Brooklyn, on March 1. Members of the task force
assigned to the case had believed that killing was carried out by the
Mr. Price told the police that he killed one of his
victims, a Russian-born man who worked at an all-night coin laundry in
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, because Mr. Price felt disrespected when
the man told him he could not sit in the store unless he was doing
laundry there, Mr. Kelly said.
Asked about Mr. Price's statement that he wanted to
kill people of Middle Eastern descent, Mr. Kelly said, ''I believe it
fits the definition of a bias crime.''
But Mr. Price's mother, Leatha Price, said yesterday
that her son's anger at Middle Easterners was a matter of mental illness,
not ethnic hatred.
Speaking at the door of her apartment in Crown
Heights, Brooklyn, Ms. Price said her son had a history of drug abuse
and mental health problems, and that as recently as three weeks ago she
had tried unsuccessfully to have him admitted to Woodhull Hospital in
Brooklyn because he appeared to be mentally unbalanced. She said her son
ranted wildly, claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency was after
him and that the hospital had put a tracking device in his hand.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, ''he walked around scared
all the time, he couldn't sit still,'' Ms. Price said. At one point he
said, ''I'm going to join the war,'' she added. After the most recent
trip to the hospital, he was scared to come out of the car, saying, '' 'They're
following me, Ma, they're following me,' '' she said.
''We kept trying to get help for him, but they kept
letting him go,'' Ms. Price said.
The police are investigating the possibility that Mr.
Price is mentally ill, Mr. Kelly said.
The police have also detained a man who was with Mr.
Price during the first killing, at a food market in Ozone Park, Queens,
on Feb. 8, Mr. Kelly said. That man, whose name was not released, is
being considered a witness. Mr. Price was alone during all the other
In addition to Mr. Price's confession, there is ample
evidence linking Mr. Price to all four killings, Mr. Kelly said.
Investigators have recovered the 9-millimeter Intertech handgun that
they say was used in the most recent killing, on March 20, at the Stop I
Food Market in Crown Heights. They said they had also found a
distinctive hat, gloves and other clothing that could be seen on
surveillance videotape taken at the scenes of other killings.
The gun and clothing were found at the home of Mr.
Price's girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child, Mr. Kelly said. She
is not the mother of Mr. Price's two other children, who have different
mothers, Mr. Kelly added.
Mr. Price discarded the .40-caliber handgun he used
in the first three killings because he was out of ammunition and knew
that the police were looking for it, Mr. Kelly said. That gun has not
Mr. Price, who is unemployed, has eight prior arrests
dating back to 1989, on charges including robbery, assault, burglary and
criminal possession of a weapon, Mr. Kelly said. In the past, he has
sold textbooks, which the police believe were stolen, on the street near
the campuses of New York City colleges, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Price lives at 1225 Eastern Parkway in Crown
Heights, Mr. Kelly said. The building is less than a block from the Stop
I Food Market, where a Yemeni immigrant was shot and killed on March 20.
Several residents in the building said yesterday that Mr. Price had
often shopped there.
After that shooting, the police say, Mr. Price also
shot Yakoob Aldailam, 21, an employee at the market, three times,
seriously wounding him. Like many others in the neighborhood, Mr.
Aldailam, who is still recovering at the Brookdale University Hospital
and Medical Center in Brooklyn, was relieved to hear the news that
someone had confessed in the string of deadly shootings, his family said.
''Before, when I went to see my nephew, he would tell
me, 'Hold my hand, stay with me,' '' said Adel Aldailam, Mr. Aldailam's
uncle, whose family owns the Stop I Food Market. ''But now my nephew is
very happy. He is relieved a lot. Now he is going to be O.K.''