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Bklyn man guilty of 2010 Astoria slay

Brooklynite Marcus Ayala was convicted last week of the February 2010 murder of an Astoria Houses resident. This photo shows the remnants of the crime scene at 4th Street and 27th Avenue.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A jury found a Brooklyn man who had been serving in the U.S. Coast Guard guilty of murder and criminal possession of a weapon last Thursday for shooting an Astoria Houses resident in front of his girlfriend as the victim was loading his car for a move to North Carolina, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Marcus Ayala, 22, was convicted of killing Kalif Canady, 22, in February 2010 after a nine-day trial in Queens Supreme Court, DA Richard Brown said. At his sentencing, which is set for June 6 and will be presided over by Judge Michael Aloise, he will face a possible prison term of 25 years to life for his crime, the DA said.

“Such a senseless act of violence demonstrates that this defendant is a threat to society and deserving of a lengthy prison sentence,” Brown said in a statement.

Ayala’s brutal crime occurred early in the morning of Feb. 20, 2010, the DA said. Ayala, who was stationed with the Coast Guard in Norfolk, Va., had told authorities eight months before the murder that he believed Canady or other public housing residents in Brooklyn had killed his cousin, Daud Abdul-Hakim, June 14, 2009, the DA said.

Ayala had also told a shipmate of his that he was going to go back to New York City with friends to find his cousin’s killer, the DA said. He left Virginia in a rental car two days earlier, the DA said.

Canady had been packing his black 2000 GMC Denali SUV, which was parked in front of 320 27th Ave. in Astoria, before he was killed. Canady, his girlfriend Cassandra Grey and Grey’s child had been planning to move to North Carolina together, the DA said.

After Canady and Grey finished loading the SUV, Ayala, who was wearing a hoodie that covered his mouth and chin, walked over to them, the DA said. Grey, upon seeing that Ayala was holding a gun, tried to warn Canady, but Ayala fired, the DA said.

Canady was hit twice in the head, once in his left forearm and once in his thigh, the DA said. Authorities found him dead at the scene due to his wounds, the DA said.

Authorities knew Ayala was in the area because of cell phone records, the DA said.

“The victim, who had made the decision to leave New York rather than stay and be drawn into a violent feud with individuals from his old Brooklyn neighborhood, was shot and killed cold-bloodedly by the defendant in front of his girlfriend,” Brown said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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