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Wendy’s Suspects To Be Arraigned

May 28, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 36-year-old former Wendy’s employee and his alleged accomplice were to be arraigned Sunday in the execution-style slayings of five workers at the fast-food restaurant.

John Taylor was arrested Friday at his mother’s house in Brentwood, Long Island, about 30 miles from the scene of Wednesday’s killings at the restaurant in Flushing, Queens.

Two others workers were wounded in the attack.

At the time of his arrest, police said, Taylor was carrying a .380-caliber semiautomatic gun in a fanny pack, the same caliber weapon used in the killings.

Ballistics tests show that Taylor’s gun was used to kill at least one of the employees, said Detective Joseph Pentangelo, a police spokesman.

Taylor’s alleged accomplice, Craig Godineaux, 31, was arrested at a men’s clothing store where both suspects worked.

Stolen from the restaurant was $2,400, along with a surveillance tape of the entrance to Wendy’s that shows the two men entering and eating. Later, the tape shows Taylor going downstairs, followed by the employees and Godineaux, said a police investigator who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Based on the suspects’ statements, police believe Taylor killed the manager and Godineaux shot the other victims in an effort to silence any witnesses, the investigator said.

According to published reports Sunday, Taylor told investigators he shot the manager after Godineaux said, ``No witnesses! No witnesses!″ Then he handed the gun to Godineaux and told him to finish the job, the New York Post reported.

Sherry Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney, said she could not confirm the reports.

Taylor, who has a prior criminal record, worked at the Flushing Wendy’s briefly in 1999. He left in October under suspicion because money was missing. He was never charged.

At their arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, both men were facing multiple counts of first- and second-degree murder, robbery and weapons charges, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. He could seek the death penalty.

The five workers killed in the shooting were identified as Ramon Nazario, 44, of Queens; Anita C. Smith, 23, of Queens; Jeremy Ryan Mele, 18, of Neptune, N.J.; Ali Ibadat, 40, of Queens; and Jean Auguste, 27, of Brooklyn.

Auguste, a Haitian immigrant, was the manager, and the gunmen asked for him by name when they came to the restaurant around closing time, just after 11 p.m.

Patrick Castro, 23, was shot through both cheeks and played dead, then freed himself two hours later and called 911. He was released from the hospital Thursday.

The other survivor, JaQuione Johnson, 18, underwent brain surgery for a gunshot wound to the head and remained in critical condition at New York Hospital Medical Center in Queens.

___

Associated Press Writer Tom Hays contributed to this story.

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