A 15-year-old boy was charged on Wednesday with the murder of Brooklyn Rabbi Joseph Raksin, who was killed on his way to Shabbat services in Miami last year while visiting his daughter there, authorities said.
Deandre Edwin Charles, 14 years old at the time of the murder, was accused of gunning down Raksin with a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun after he and another man tried to rob him and found out he didn't have anything worth taking.
"As a deeply religious Orthodox Jew, he was carrying nothing of value as it was the Sabbath," Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said at a news conference in Miami. "At this point, to us, it was a crime of opportunity. It was mean, cold, and he didn't have any money on him so [Charles] shot and killed him.
"It just doesn't get any more heinous than that," she later added.
Raksin, of Crown Heights, was fatally shot once in the chest as he walked to synagogue for Shabbat services at about 9 a.m. on August 9, 2014. He was in the area to celebrate his 60th birthday with his daughter and grandchildren.
"His murder at the hands of a thug has caused an emptiness and a void that cannot be replaced," said his daughter, Shuli Labkowski Raksin. "This has been a long 16 months."
Charles was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a firearm by a grand jury, said a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. Charles was charged as an adult.
Charles was awaiting his first court appearance on Wednesday. Attorney information for Charles was not immediately available.
Rundle said investigators are still looking for other suspects and declined to go into the details of the evidence used to secure the indictment. She did, however, say that DNA belonging to both Raksin and Charles was found, that investigators combed through cellphone records, and that an eyewitness sketch helped lead them to Charles.
"This has been a very labor intensive case of piecing together a circumstantial case made up of lots of different pieces of a puzzle," she said. "Prior to tod
Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Raksin's death was felt both in Miami and his home in New York.
"It's a crime that has touched two communities, two cities," Gimenez said, adding the search for all involved is of the utmost importance. "And that's what we're looking for, justice for the Raksin family."