By Christina Carrega
The defense team representing a teenager who grew up on Rikers Island after allegedly taking part in a deadly 2014 home invasion says it’s “troubled” that a third suspect is getting away with murder.
After the Eagle published an article about Prakash Churaman’s murder trial on Oct. 31, a source hinted that the third push-in robber who Assistant District Attorney Andrea Medina eluded to in her opening statement has an actual name.
Churaman, then 15, planned the Dec. 5, 2014 break-in to Taquane Clark’s second-floor apartment on 144th Street to steal marijuana with Elijah Gough, then 28, and a third man known as “Trouble,” Medina said.
During the botched robbery, 74-year-old Olive Legister begged for her life as she was allegedly tied up at gunpoint by Churaman. Clark, 21, was murdered in his bedroom and Jonathan Legister was shot twice during a struggle with “Trouble.” Legister survived the violent attack.
All three men fled the scene. Gough, who was also shot during the evening home invasion, was immediately arrested and Churaman was taken into custody five days later.
A spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney’s Office said as of Oct. 31 that “Trouble” is still on the lam.
Gough, who was sentenced to 65 years to life in prison, did not tell authorities who his accomplices were and Churaman maintains his innocence as his trial in currently ongoing.
The trouble is, the third suspect is identified as 22-year-old Jonathan Wells. Wells has been incarcerated on an unrelated matter since 2016, according to the source.
“We are troubled by the Queens DA’s claims that they couldn’t find ‘Trouble’ when we know ‘Trouble’ is in trouble upstate,” said Ron Kuby, an attorney for Churaman.
A law enforcement source said Wells has a “pretty long” criminal record.
Wells, 22, was sentenced in Manhattan to two years in prison for second-degree assault charges. While he was locked up, he accumulated another charge for attempted promoting prison contraband that tacked on another one and-a-half to three years in prison, according to online court records. He is expected to be released in December 2019, court records show.
Prosecutors declined to comment on whether Wells will be indicted for the four-year-old case because Churaman’s trial is still ongoing in Queens Supreme Court.
"In light of this being a pending case — an on-going trial in fact — we can not make any statements in regards to your inquiry,” said Ikimulisa Livingston, a spokesperson for District Attorney Rickard A. Brown.
If convicted, Churaman faces up to 15 years to life in prison as a juvenile offender.