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Rikers inmate admits to hiring hit man to kill witness: DA

A 30-year-old Brooklyn man pleaded guilty last week to orchestrating a plot during his stay at Rikers Island to hire a hit man to kill a 31-year-old Queens woman who would have testified against him for kidnapping and carjacking her, the Queens district attorney said.

Ashumba Bryan, 30, of 154 Highland Blvd., in Brooklyn, admitted to the murder-for-hire plot June 11 before acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert McGann, as well as pleaded guilty to carjacking the woman, who was 29 at the time of the 2005 incident, and throwing her from her vehicle while it was in motion, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

"The defendant thought he would escape punishment by committing a more serious violent crime than the one he was originally charged with committing," the DA said. "He now faces a lengthy sentence behind bars."

McGann indicated he would likely sentence Bryan to 16 years in state prison when the defendant returns to court July 2, Brown said.

Bryan, who has been held at Rikers Island without bail since he was indicted on kidnapping and robbery charges in June 2006, and his brother, Sillasse Bryan, 34, of 335 Sunnyside Ave., in Brooklyn, carjacked the victim on Oct. 10, 2005, Brown said. The defendants beat her, fracturing her orbital bone and inflicting other injuries, as they were driving around in her car, the DA said.

The defendants then demanded the victim give up her ATM card and personal code, Brown said. The brothers threw the woman from the moving car onto the Jackie Robinson Parkway after she had handed over her card, he said. The defendants used the victim's ATM card multiple times to withdraw money, he said.

On April 26, 2007, a conversation was recorded at Rikers Island during which Ashumba Bryan said that he was attempting to find a hit man to murder the woman in exchange for $10,000 in cash, the DA said. Bryan provided a detailed description of the victim, as well as details regarding where she lived, Brown said.

The defendant also described the manner in which he wanted the victim killed and discussed methods of payment before and after the murder, the DA said.

On July 2, 2007, Sillasse Bryan pleaded guilty to kidnapping charges in the 2005 incident, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Brown said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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