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Jurors hear closing arguments in Queens man’s murder trial

Wilfred Labossiere is escorted into the courtroom as testimony in his murder trial continued.
Wilfred Labossiere is escorted into the courtroom as testimony in his murder trial continued. Photo Credit: Mike Balsamo

The fate of a 33-year-old Queens man charged in the murder of a family friend and the shooting of his son’s grandmother in front of her Elmont home is in the hands of the jury after the panel heard closing arguments Thursday.

Wilfred Labossiere, of Far Rockaway, faces life in prison if convicted on murder, assault and weapons charges stemming from the Nov. 26, 2012 incident, which left Christopher Mullings, 29, dead and Sandra Clarke, 53, shot in the hip.

Witnesses have said the deadly incident developed as Labossiere argued with Mullings after an initial face-to-face verbal dispute and an expletive-ridden cell phone call between the men.

Prosecutors argued the situation came to a head in the doorway of Clarke’s home on Oakley Avenue in Elmont as the two men continued to argue and threaten one another before Labossiere allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired several shots, fatally striking Mullings and injuring Clarke.

Seconds before the shooting, Mullings’s brother had pulled out an iPhone and started to roll video, which prosecutors say captured the crime as it unfolded.

“I will do everything in my power to protect me and my child,” Labossiere is heard saying in the video, which was repeatedly played for jurors during several days of testimony. “You can talk all the [expletive] you want. I will kill you. I don’t know you. We’re not related.” Mullings is also heard on the video responding: “I kill [expletive] for a living, man.”

The defense claims the shooting was self-defense, saying Labossiere was in fear for his life after Mullings motioned toward his pocket and mentioned he had a gun. Prosecutors rebutted the claim, saying the video shows Mullings never made a move for his pockets and noting no weapon was recovered near his body after the shooting.

Assistant District Attorney Martin Meaney argued Labossiere had his hand on the loaded gun in his jacket pocket as he argued and threatened Mullings. “You took the time to aim the gun – sight on his head – and pull the trigger,” Meaney said. “When you aim and fire, you did it. It’s intentional murder.”

He also asked jurors to watch the video as they deliberate. “Look at it; look at it over and over and over again,” he said. “There’s a difference between what this defendant wants you to believe and what happened.”

Labossiere’s defense lawyer, Anthony Grandinette, argued Labossiere’s actions were “in the heat of battle,” and posed several questions to jurors to consider, including: “Was it Mr. Labossiere’s conscious objective to kill Mr. Mullings or was it self-defense?”

In a closing statement that lasted more than 90 minutes, Grandinette alleged several witnesses provided inconsistent or untruthful testimony and said his client was in fear for his safety when he pulled out the gun.

Calling the victim “the initial aggressor,” the defense lawyer said Mullings threw the first punch as the altercation turned physical. “This was a spontaneous combustion…There is reasonable doubt.”

Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Friday morning.