March 20, 2014
Contact: Public Information Officer
MAR 20 (BROOKLYN, N.Y.) - U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced today that following a two-week trial, a federal jury convicted Richard Riccardi, 41, of Manalapan, N.J., and Louis Grasso, 46, of Staten Island, N.Y., of the robbery and murder of James Donovan on July 2, 2010. The defendants face a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a fine of over $250,000 when they are sentenced in August.
“The defendants plotted this brazen robbery and took the life of James Donovan because of their unrelenting greed. After lying in wait for Donovan, the defendants coldly robbed him, shot him, and left him to die in the street. The jury saw through their attempts to shift responsibility for their actions and held them accountable for Mr. Donovan’s senseless death,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch.
According to the Government’s trial evidence, the defendants plotted to rob Donovan, who operated a check cashing business in Brooklyn, believing he would be carrying large amounts of cash. The defendants, together with several of their associates, followed Donovan in the weeks leading up to the robbery to learn his daily routines. Riccardi agreed to supply the guns that everyone in the robbery team planned to carry for the robbery.
On July 2, 2010, the robbery team, armed with revolvers and semi-automatic firearms, headed to a shop in Gravesend, Brooklyn, where they expected Donovan. At approximately 2:15 p.m., James Donovan arrived at the shop, and the robbery team sprang into action. During the course of the robbery, one of the defendants’ co-conspirators shot him. Donovan, who was hit in the leg, shortly thereafter collapsed in the street, where he lay slowly bleeding to death. Grasso stole a bag of cash from Donovan’s car, and the team fled. Donovan, whose femoral artery was severed by the bullet, died as a result of his wound.
The robbery team divided up the approximately $200,000 in cash they had stolen from Donovan. Grasso took the guns used in the robbery and said he was going to have them melted down at a friend’s auto body shop. On November 3, 2011, law enforcement searched Riccardi’s car and New Jersey residence, and recovered a .38 caliber revolver and a 9 millimeter pistol.
Ms. Lynch thanked the Drug Enforcement Task Force -which is comprised of agents and officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department and the New York State Police; the Business Integrity Commission and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their outstanding investigative efforts. The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri and Darren LaVerne.