Guyanese man to get 20 years in jail for hate crimes against Mus­lims in NY

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

Guyanese Ray Len­gend, who fire-bombed mosques through­out south­east Queens, in New York, in 2012, will be sen­tenced this week for the crimes against Mus­lims, whom he had claimed were “try­ing to take over his life,” the TimesLedger news­pa­per has re­ported.

Len­gend, 45, pleaded guilty to the crimes last week.

Act­ing Queens Supreme Court Jus­tice Barry Kron is re­ported by Queens District At­tor­ney Richard Brown as say­ing that he would sen­tence Len­gend, who is also known as Su­raj Poonai, to 20 years and five years post-re­lease su­per­vi­sion for first-de­gree ar­son as a hate-crime when he re­turns to court this Thurs­day.

“In plead­ing guilty, the de­fen­dant has ad­mit­ted to car­ry­ing out a vi­cious, hate-filled at­tack that en­dan­gered scores of peo­ple,” Brown is quoted as say­ing in the TimesLedger re­port. “In a sin­gle night, this in­di­vid­ual filled glass bot­tles with gaso­line to make crude Molo­tov cock­tails and then tossed them at five build­ings. His tar­gets ranged from pri­vate dwellings to houses of wor­ship – en­dan­ger­ing those within the build­ings as well as the fire­fight­ers called to re­spond to the scene. This kind of in­tol­er­ance and hate will not be tol­er­ated in Queens,” he added.

In plead­ing guilty, Len­gend claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tacks in which he used Molo­tov cock­tails, made of Star­bucks Frap­puc­cino bot­tles filled with gaso­line, to at­tack mosques, a deli, a pri­vate res­i­dence and a Hindu place of wor­ship, the re­port said.

Ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Len­gend drove to a gas sta­tion in a stolen rental car and he pur­chased the pro­vi­sions for his at­tack be­fore head­ing off to a mosque at 8989 Van Wyck Ex­press­way. He balked at per­form­ing the task be­cause of a po­lice pres­ence near the house of wor­ship and in­stead torched a nearby deli at the cor­ner of Hill­side Av­enue and 179th Street.

Len­gend im­me­di­ately drove back to the mosque, where 80 peo­ple were pray­ing at the time, and threw one of the Molo­tov cock­tails at the front en­trance be­fore flee­ing.

Len­gend’s at­tacks did not end there. He went to a home near 107th Av­enue and Sut­phin Boule­vard, which he at­tacked be­fore head­ing to Elmont,Long Is­land where his broth­erin-law lived. The Molo­tov cock­tail he threw at the house, how­ever, did not ex­plode and he moved on to the next tar­get.

A house at 170th Street and 88th Av­enue, which dou­bled as a Hindu tem­ple, was next on the list of tar­gets, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

Len­gend was later ar­rested and kept at Belle­vue Hospi­tal’s psych ward where he was ar­raigned by tele­con­fer­ence.

In state­ments to the po­lice, Len­gend said the goal of the at­tacks was to in­flict as much dam­age to Mus­lims, Hin­dus and “Arabs” as pos­si­ble, the re­port added.

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