NEW YORK – A judge on Friday sentenced a Brooklyn youth to 17 1/3 years in jail for killing a 22-year-old college student just before the Caribbean J’Ouvert festival in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn began in 2016.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo imposed the stiff sentence on Regional Moise, 20, for shooting in the head at point-blank range, Tiarah Poyau, a graduate student in accounting at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, New York.
The incident took place on September 5, 2016, Poyau died after she was taken to the nearby Kings County Hospital in Central Brooklyn.
Police said Moise was intoxicated at the time of the shooting, but jurors found him guilty of criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment and weapons possession in Poyau’s shooting death. He was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder.
“This is the most tragic case I’ve ever come across,” said Justice Leo before imposing the sentence on Moise. “In one selfish act of idiocy, you destroyed the incredibly bright future of a promising young woman.”
The victim’s family had pleaded with Justice Leo to sentence Moise to consecutive – no concurrent – sentences, as Moise’s lawyers had requested.
“Criminally negligent homicide is a slap in the face your honor,” Poyau’s mother, Valerie Brown, told the court before Moise’s sentence. “It’s really an insult, not just to me but to my whole entire family. Please, I beg of you, please see fit to give him the maximum that is allowed for each charge.”
Before he was taken away in handcuffs, Moise apologized to the victim’s family.
“I’m sorry to Ms. Brown and the Poyau family for all stuff y’all have been going through,” he told the court.
After the sentence, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement that “this defendant fired four shots during what was a joyous cultural celebration, tragically killing Tiarah Poyau, a completely innocent bystander with a promising life ahead of her.
“It is a miracle that no one else was struck,” he added. “Today’s sentence delivered a measure of justice for Tiarah’s heartbroken mother, family and many friends, and a clear message that gun violence will not be tolerated at J’ouvert.”