Tuesday, 20 November 2012 00:00
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a man suspected of being the driver in a 2001 hit-and-run death that killed an 80-year-old woman in Westbury was arraigned on Nov. 13 after he was captured in Panama.
Sebastian Barba, 34, formerly of Hicksville, is charged with second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting. Barba faces up to 25 years to life if convicted. He was remanded by Judge Sullivan and was scheduled to return to court on November 14, 2012.
Rice said that at approximately 10:05 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2001, 80-year-old Jean Renison was crossing Post Avenue at the Maple Avenue intersection in Westbury when Barba struck her while driving a 1995 Cadillac. The force of the collision forced the victim onto the hood of the vehicle, police said, and Barba then applied the brakes, causing the victim, who was still alive and moving at the time, to fall to the ground in front of the vehicle.
Barba then slowly drove over the victim’s chest with the front tires and her head with the back tires while a witness screamed at him to stop, police said. He then fled the scene without identifying himself or aiding the victim and fled to Ecuador, where he has dual citizenship, according to Rice. A grand jury later indicted him, a warrant was issued for his arrest and Barba was featured on a May 2005 episode of America’s Most Wanted.
Local authorities in Panama detained Barba when his connecting flight to Ecuador from the Dominican Republic landed due to a “Red Notice,” which INTERPOL had placed on Barba. Panamanian officers and U.S. marshals escorted him back to the United States Friday, Nov. 9.
“Sebastian Barba’s cowardice kept him hidden for more than 11 years, but due to the collaborative efforts of the government bodies and law enforcement agencies involved in this manhunt, the family of Jean Renison will finally get the justice they have been waiting for,” Rice said. “Law enforcement has a very long memory, and this arrest is another example of the dedication and tenacity of the men and women who serve and protect.”
DA Rice added special thanks to NCPD Det. Gary Ferrucci, a 43-year veteran who has worked the case from the beginning, as well as the following for their involvement in this investigation:
-U.S. Marshals – Senior Inspector, Office of South American Affairs, Mark Espinoza, U.S. Marshal Anthony B. Walker, U.S. Marshal Jose F. Espinal
-U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Services – Special Agent Investigator Daniel M. Glick, Special Agent Travis T. Blanton
-U.S. Embassy in Panama City – Juan Arturo Rawlins
-Panama City Police – Officer Pablo Icaza
-Servicio Nacional de Migracion in Panama – Eyda Man’a Garcia
-NY/NJ Port Authority PD – Sgt. James Ryan
Assistant District Attorneys Brendan Ahern and Michael Bushwack of the DA’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Jonathan Marks represents Barba.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.