Murder suspect charged in new plot

February 2, 2009 3:51:08 PM PST
The second indictment of a Nesconset man arrested for allegedly arranging the murder of his business partner was unsealed Monday. Prosecutors are now charging him with second-degree conspiracy for allegedly attempting to arrange the kidnapping of codefendant Monique Randall's daughter, in order to force the Queens' woman to stop cooperating with law enforcement, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Prosecutors say 37-year-old Ronald Thornton approached a fellow inmate in the Suffolk County jail about a scheme to kidnap the child to force her mother to recant her statement that Thornton hired her, 20-year-old Donovan Raysor and 23-year-old Darnell Festus, 23, of Queens, to kill James DiMartino.

Randall, an exotic dancer, said during her guilty plea last November that Thornton directed her to recruit DiMartino's killers. Randall pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against Thornton at his trial.

The 44-year-old DiMartino was found shot to death in a Commack restaurant parking lot at 1087 Route 25 on October 20. Thornton is alleged to have lured DiMartino to the site for a business meeting and defendants Raysor and Festus were waiting there for the victim, police said.

Thornton is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree conspiracy for the fatal shooting.

Spota said Thornton's kidnapping plot, hatched behind bars in his Suffolk County Jail cell, involved the defendant's making eight phone calls to an undercover detective Thornton believed to be the person willing to kidnap Randall's daughter. Spota said Thornton directed the kidnapper to the News 12 Web site to find Randall's home address.

As payment for the kidnapping, Thornton offered the deed of a house in Deer Park that DA Spota said detectives have since discovered is in foreclosure.

Thornton will be formally arraigned on the new conspiracy count on Thursday, February 5, before Judge C. Randall Hinrichs.


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