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Two Individuals Charged in Manhattan Federal Court with Murder During Home Invasion Robbery of Pizza Shop Owner

Leon Whitfield arrested and presented yesterday in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas and ordered detained. Antoine Burroughs is still at large.

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New York, NY - March 20, 2014 - Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the unsealing of charges against Antoine Burroughs and Leon Whitfield. Whitfield was arrested and presented yesterday in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas and ordered detained. Burroughs is still at large.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Antoine Burroughs and Leon Whitfield allegedly targeted and robbed a Queens pizza owner and then brutally murdered his son as he tried to protect his father. This office and our law enforcement partners stand fully committed to eradicating this type of violence from our neighborhoods.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said, “As alleged, Burroughs and Whitfield had no regard for life, especially the life of Gerardo Antoniello. They illegally entered Antoniello’s father’s home with the intention of robbing him of any cash on hand from Antoniello’s pizza shop. The FBI stands with our law enforcement partners to announce these charges and to reiterate that this case will not be done until all those involved face justice.”

According to the allegations in the superseding indictment unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court and on other documents in the public record:

On September 9, 2009, Burroughs and Whitfield attempted to rob an individual named Bartolomeo Antoniello at his home in Queens, New York. Burroughs and Whitfield were targeting the cash proceeds of Antoniello’s pizza shop. Antoniello’s son, Gerardo Antoniello, was home at the time and attempted to protect his father. During the struggle, Gerardo Antoniello was shot in the head and died later of his injuries. He was 29 years old.

Burroughs, 25, and Whitfield, 23, both of New York, New York, are each charged with one count of robbery conspiracy and one count of attempted robbery, which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of discharging a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge. This case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI, the New York City Police Department, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office and stated that the investigation is ongoing.

The case is being prosecuted by the Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Peter Skinner and Rachel Maimin are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.