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DA: Queens man gets 16 years for trying to kill toddler

Khemchan Sulaiman, 48, of Jamaica, is escorted out of the Nassau County Court on Thursday after being sentenced to 16 years for trying to kill his 2-year-old daughter.
Photo Credit: Mike Balsamo

A Queens man is headed to state prison for the next 16 years after being convicted of trying to kill his young daughter by poisoning her bottle with ammonium chloride and sprinkling pesticides on her car seat, Nassau County prosecutors said Thursday.

Khemchan Sulaiman, 48, of Jamaica, had pleaded guilty to a nine-count grand jury indictment, which included charges of attempted murder, assault, criminal contempt and child endangerment. Investigators said Sulaiman and his two-year-old daughter, Priya, were found unconscious and in respiratory distress in a parked car behind a store in Lawrence in October 2011.

After the two were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, police learned the young girl’s bottle had been filled with ammonium chloride – a chemical commonly found in fire extinguishers. Authorities said a pesticide known as Sevin – which is known to cause seizures and respiratory distress – was also found on the toddler’s car seat. Sulaiman was arrested and arraigned in his hospital bed at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway. The young girl was treated at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital. Both have since recovered.

After his arrest, police said they believed Sulaiman’s “bitter separation” from the girl’s mother may have motivated the murder-suicide attempt. Police said the two had been living apart and were often fighting over the young girl. The mother’s identity was never released by police.

“The crimes in this case are shocking – especially given that the victim was a young child that was completely unable to protect itself,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “This sentence ensures that this defendant will be in prison for a long time, where he will no longer be a danger to innocents.”

Sulaiman, who worked as a bus maintainer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, did not make a statement at his sentencing. Supervising Nassau County Court Judge Christopher Quinn also signed an order of protection that prohibits Sulaiman from contacting the victim, prosecutors said. The victim’s family did not attend the court hearing.