Brooklyn man sentenced to 23 years to life for role in Floral Park jewelry store robbery

Brooklyn man sentenced to 23 years to life for role in Floral Park jewelry store robbery
Justice Brunson was sentenced to 23 years to life for his role in a 2017 Floral Park jewelry store robbery last week. (Photo courtesy of the Nassau County Police Department)

A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for a 2017 Floral Park jewelry store robbery on Wednesday, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

Officials said Justice Brunson, 43, was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery after aiding the robbery of Atelier Jewelers on Nov. 11, 2017. Brunson, along with Darkel Davis, 35, and another female posing as a customer, stole more than $80,000 worth of jewelry from the store.

Police said the men drew handguns and ordered store employees to drop to the floor before going through display cases and taking assorted jewelry and watches. During the trial, prosecutor Michelle Lewisohn said Davis dropped a bag containing stolen valuables while escaping, according to Newsday.

Brunson was arrested in February 2018, a month after Davis. Davis subsequently pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 15 years in prison prior to Brunson’s sentencing. In November 2021, Brunson was convicted by a jury 20 months after a mistrial was forced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Store owner Antonio Hurtado said Brunson “got what he deserved” in a statement to Blank Slate Media.

“This defendant orchestrated a plan to rob Atelier Jewelers, pointed a gun to the heads of the terrified owner and employees, and ran off with more than $80,000 worth of jewelry,” District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a statement.  “A jury convicted Justice Brunson on all counts because of the overwhelming evidence in this case, as well as the hard work of our prosecutors and police partners.”

Brunson, according to Newsday, claimed police planted images of stolen jewelry on his phone,  saying his rights were violated on “numerous” occasions throughout the trial. Brunson’s attorney Christopher Devane told Newsday that his client “feels he is innocent and feels he was wrongly convicted and feels that he’ll have his day in court again.”

Efforts to reach Devane for further comment were unavailing.

According to Newsday, Devane previously portrayed Keisha Payton, the 28-year-old female who aided Brunson and Davis in the robbery, as a liar and claimed she withheld information from law enforcement officials.

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