|Location||Flushing, Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Date||May 24, 2000
11:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)
|Robbery and homicide|
|Weapons||Bryco-Jennings Model J38 .38-caliber pistol|
|Perpetrators||Craig Godineaux, John Taylor|
The Wendy's massacre was a mass murder that took place in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant at 40-12 Main Street in Flushing, Queens, New York City, New York, on May 24, 2000. Seven employees were shot in the head and five of them died.
Robbery and killing of employees
The killings were carried out by 36-year-old John Taylor, a former employee of the restaurant, and his accomplice Craig Godineaux. The robbery was carefully planned, as Taylor forced his former manager there, Jean Auguste, to summon the six employees upstairs to his basement office on the pretense of having an important meeting. Taylor and Godineaux took the seven into the restaurant's freezer, bound and gagged them at gunpoint, put plastic bags over their heads, and then shot each of them in the head with a Bryco-Jennings Model J38 .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol. All but two of them died. One of the two survivors, Patricio Castro, dialed 9-1-1. When police arrived, they found all the victims and discovered $2,400 missing from the safe.
Arrests and trial
The NYPD arrested Taylor and Godineaux less than 48 hours after the killings. Evidence quickly mounted against the pair, including eyewitness testimony, ballistics, and fingerprints. On January 22, 2001, Godineaux pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to life in prison. Judge Steven W. Fisher instructed the jury that he would most likely sentence Taylor to a sentence of 175 years in prison if the jury did not return a unanimous verdict on the death penalty. On November 19, 2002, Taylor was convicted on 20 counts of murder and attempted murder. One week later, on November 26, the jury sentenced Taylor to death.
On October 23, 2007, the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, New York's highest court, vacated the death penalty portion of the verdict.
The Queens prosecutor's office fought unsuccessfully to have Taylor's case declared an exception to a 2004 Appeals Court's decision that found New York's death penalty law unconstitutional because of a flaw in its mandated instructions to the jury. On November 29, 2007 Taylor was re-sentenced to life without parole for the five murders. As of 2007, he had been the only inmate on Death Row in New York.
Taylor is currently serving his sentence at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, as inmate #03A0158, while Godineaux is currently serving his sentence at the Auburn Correctional Facility in Auburn, New York, as inmate #01A1186.
Killed in the massacre were:
- Jean Auguste, 27
- Ali Ibadat, 40
- Jeremy Mele, 19
- Ramon Nazario, 44
- Anita Smith, 23
- Ja Quione Johnson, 18
- Patricio (Patrick) Castro, 23
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- Goff, Liz. "Blood Spills On Main Street: The Wendy's Massacre". The Queens Spin. Queens Tribune. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
- Confessore, Nicholas (2007-09-11). "New York's High Court Hears Death Penalty Arguments". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- Soltnik, Daniel E. "Steven W. Fisher, New York State Justice, Dies at 64", The New York Times, December 28, 2010. Accessed December 28, 2010.
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- "Court of Appeals re: John Taylor" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 26, 2007.
- "Last NY Death Row Inmate Gets Life Term". Associated Press.[dead link]