3 arrested in LI lawyer shooting

November 17, 2008 5:54:45 PM PST
A mortgage lawyer was shot and killed during a botched ambush robbery set up by the man's business partner, who allegedly paid a stripper and her boyfriend to commit the holdup, police said Monday. The business partner, 37-year-old Ronald Thornton of Nesconset, was ordered held without bail, as were Monique Randall, a 19-year-old exotic dancer, and her boyfriend, Donovan Raysor - both of Queens. The three pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on second-degree murder charges in the death of attorney James DiMartino.

DiMartino was shot and killed Oct. 21, after he arrived for what he believed was going to be a business meeting in a restaurant parking lot along bustling Route 25 in Commack, on eastern Long Island. DiMartino was carrying an undetermined amount of cash, which was stolen during the confrontation, said Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Suffolk County homicide squad.

Fitzpatrick, citing an ongoing investigation, declined to say which of the three suspects fired the gun that killed DiMartino, a father of four little girls. He was found lying in the parking lot of the closed restaurant by a passer-by on a sunny afternoon, and died several hours later of his injuries.

Detectives said Thornton met Randall at an undisclosed strip club, where he is believed to have discussed the robbery with her.

"Mr. Thornton had set up his partner for a robbery," Fitzpatrick said. He declined to discuss a motive for the robbery, but said there was no indication that Thornton and DiMartino's mortgage business was in any financial trouble.

Thornton's attorney, Gerard Donnelly, said his client denies the charges and pleaded not guilty. Michael Brown, who represents Raysor, said it was early in the investigation, but cautioned against a "rush to judgment." Randall's attorney, Anthony LaPinta, declined comment.

The three suspects are due back in court on Friday.

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