Press Release


Faces up to 55 years in Prison

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that James Fraley was convicted of attempted murder and drug and weapon possession charges in the 2021 shooting of a deli owner in Briarwood and the subsequent discovery of a large quantity of heroin in his home. Fraley was on lifetime parole for a 1989 murder conviction.

District Attorney Katz said: “He killed once before and was armed and willing to do so again. The jury has spoken and we will be asking the court for an appropriately lengthy sentence.”

Fraley, 73, of Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans, was convicted yesterday after a jury trial of attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. Queens Supreme Court Justice Gary Miret set sentencing for June 16. He faces up to 55 years in prison.

According to the charges and trial testimony:

• On Aug. 12, 2021, at approximately 2:00 p.m., Fraley entered the Rojas Deli at 146-10 Hillside Avenue, ordered a sandwich and then shot the owner, Rufino Rojas-Flores, in the chest. He then turned the gun on the owner’s daughter, who was working behind the counter, and demanded the money in the register.

• The daughter gave him between $100 and $200 cash and Fraley fled. A deli worker chased him on Hillside Avenue toward the Parsons Boulevard subway stop.

• Surveillance video showed the worker running after an older man and it also captured Fraley in the subway stop. The NYPD created a wanted poster from the video.

• On Aug. 17, an officer recognized Fraley from the wanted poster as he got into a car. He pulled him over for a traffic violation.

• When detectives went to Fraley’s home, they found a .357 caliber revolver, a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition, and a safe containing more than 12 ounces of heroin. Drug paraphernalia, including hundreds of glassine envelopes, were also discovered in the home.

• Rojas-Flores was treated at the hospital for injuries to his liver from the gunshot wound.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Weinstein prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Whitney, Senior Deputy Chief, of the District Attorney’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau, and Deputy Bureau Chief Roni Piplani, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for the Major Crimes Division Shawn Clark.

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