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District Attorney

Posted on: March 18, 2014

DA Rice Announces Sentencing of International Fugitive Who Spent a Dozen Years on the Run

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the sentencing today of a man who was captured after an almost 12-year international and multi-agency manhunt. He was the driver in a 2001 hit-and-run incident that killed an 80-year-old woman in Westbury. Sebastian Barba, 36, formerly of Hicksville, was sentenced by Nassau County Court Judge Angelo Delligatti to 12 years in prison. Barba pleaded guilty today to Assault in the 1st Degree (a B violent felony) and Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting (an E felony). “This defendant showed callous disregard for life and law when he committed this horrific crime and then evaded prosecution for over a decade,” DA Rice said. “But justice caught up in the end with his being sentenced to as much time in prison as he spent evading responsibility for his elderly victim’s death.” Barba was arrested in November 2012 after an almost 12-year international manhunt involving DA Rice’s office, the Nassau County Police Department, the Port Authority Police Department, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the government of Panama, and INTERPOL. DA 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 she was struck by a 1995 Cadillac being driven by Barba. The impact of the collision forced the victim onto the hood of the vehicle. 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. He then fled the scene without identifying himself or aiding the victim and then fled to Ecuador, where he has dual citizenship. A grand jury indicted him shortly thereafter and a warrant was issued for his arrest. While Barba holds dual U.S. and Ecuadorian citizenship, extradition was impossible because the Ecuadorean constitution states that no Ecuadorean national can be extradited to another country. During the years he eluded capture, police followed multiple leads to locate Barba and to bring him to justice. In May 2005, Barba was featured in an episode of America’s Most Wanted. Barba was detained by local authorities in Panama when his connecting flight from the Dominican Republic to Ecuador was flagged due to an international arrest warrant issued by INTERPOL. He was escorted back to the U.S. on Nov. 9, 2012 by Panamanian officers and U.S. Marshalls. DA Rice added special thanks to NCPD Det. Gary Ferrucci, 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, Anthony B. Walker, Jose F. Espinal Agents with the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service 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 DA Rice’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline R?osenblum of DA Rice’s Appeals Bureau prosecuted the case. Barba is represented by John Kase, Esq. and Jonathan Marks, Esq. ###

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