A man accused of trying to kill a station agent by setting her booth on fire will make his first court appearance on elevated criminal charges Thursday. Accused firebug Everett Robinson will be arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court at 320 Jay Street, on attempted murder, attempted arson, attempted robbery and other charges in connection with the Aug. 12th attack at the Nostrand Ave. station (No. 3 line).
He was originally charged by police with lesser charges of attempted arson and attempted assault in the second degree but prosecutors raised the stakes. The case is scheduled to go before Justice Elizabeth Foley in the ARR (Arraignment) courtroom, possibly as early as 9:30 a.m.
““We are entering a contract fight with the MTA and I will be stressing that transit workers have unique and dangerous jobs – and management needs to recognize that when it comes to raises, “TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. Samuelsen also encouraged members and retirees to pack the courtroom Thursday to demonstrate Local 100s solidarity and to support the Station Agent victimized by Robinson.
If ultimately convicted of the most serious felony counts, Robinson could be sent to prison for a significant period of time. But it’s hardly a guarantee. Defendants in the criminal justice system regularly are offered plea deals that are coupled with slap-on-the-wrist sentences - especially in cases that unfold quietly without fanfare and public scrutiny. Station Agent Percilla Augustine-Soverall, 44, told police that she was in the booth at about 10:45 p.m. station when man, whom she later identified as Robinson, doused the aperture with a liquid that smelled like gasoline.
“He said that if I didn’t give him the money, he would light me up,” Augustine-Soverall said. Robinson then held up a shirt or rag and lit it on fire, according to the criminal complaint filed by NYPD Det. Daniel Artega. The fire apparently spread more quickly than Robinson anticipated, forcing him to drop it to the floor before he could stuff it into the booth’s opening, according to a law enforcement source. Still, the smoke from the burning cloth filled the mezzanine and booth, triggering the Halon fire-suppression system. “Everything was just cloudy in the booth,” Augustine-Soverall told the New York Daily News. “I couldn’t do anything…I just started crying. I was in shock.”
The attack was a “cowardly, evil act against a transit worker who was simply doing her job,” Samuelsen told the newspaper after the arrest. “New York is able to work because we run the subways and buses every day. But our members face countless dangers, including arson attacks, while providing this vital public service.” Police canvassing the area around the station four days later identified Robinson as a suspect and he was arrested. He was hit with a slew of charges, including attempted arson and attempted assault in the second degree. Prosecutors, however, successfully asked a Grand Jury to indict Robinson on with the new top counts of attempted murder and attempted assault in the first degree. If convicted of attempted murder, Robinson could be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years and a maximum 25 years in prison. If convicted of attempted assault, he faces a minimum 3.5 years in prison and a maximum of 15 years behind bars.