June 28, 2008  
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41 year old slain in targeted attack

(by K. Darius Amos - January 02, 2008)
City and county authorities believe last Thursday’s fatal shooting of a Hackensack man just outside the upscale Devonshire Apartments was a targeted act but one not connected to the victim’s long family history.

Police said 41-year-old Frank DeSimone Jr. was found late last Thursday afternoon inside a white Cadillac Escalade, which was parked in the apartment complex’s driveway. DeSimone, the son of a notorious Lucchese crime family member, died of gunshot wounds to his head and neck.

The shooter was identified as Roosevelt Withers, a 43-year-old New York City man, who was arrested by Fort Lee police officers near the toll plaza at the George Washington Bridge. He pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Bergen County Superior Court the morning after the killing occurred.

As of last Friday, Withers was being held on $2 million bail.

Though the shooting apparently was not linked to Mafia dealings or crime family affairs, police indicated in reports that DeSimone and Withers knew one another. Recently, DeSimone allegedly sold a car to Withers from the Little Ferry used car dealership where the former worked.

The dealership was once owned by individuals who were arrested and charged in 2004 by federal agents with money laundering, as they forged documents for alleged drug dealers. Whether the drug arrests and DeSimone’s murder are linked was not determined before Hackensack Chronicle’s press deadline.

Both men also possessed a lengthy rap sheet. Among DeSimone’s convictions are fraud and theft, while Withers spent time in prison for drug dealing and armed robbery.

According to Hackensack police, the shooting took place at approximately 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27. Witnesses immediately reported hearing the gunfire and notified local authorities. Eyewitnesses said they saw the apparent gunman, who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, and his getaway vehicle, a white Nissan Altima with no license plates.

Hackensack Police Department broadcast the description of the suspect and vehicle to area departments, adding that the shooter was possibly headed toward New York City.

Fort Lee Police spotted the vehicle, which encountered late afternoon bridge traffic. The Altima collided with another vehicle, and the driver then attempted to flee the scene on foot. After a brief foot chase, Fort Lee police officers finally caught up to the suspect and transported him back to Hackensack police station.

At the same time, city police officers were canvassing the crime scene, which remained closed for the remainder of that day.



 

 

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