DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO 19 YEARS FOR DEATH OF PEDESTRIAN AND OTHER CRIMES
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Nigel Covington was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the death of a pedestrian struck by a stolen car he was driving before leaping out to evade police, and for driving into another woman, then beating her and stealing her purse. The incidents occurred November and December 2019.
District Attorney Katz said: “For his violent, reckless disregard for the lives of others, the defendant is going to prison. I hope the long sentence provides some measure of solace to the family of the deceased, and peace of mind to the victim of his brutal assault.”
Covington, 20, of 119th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, pleaded guilty to assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree. Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder sentenced Covington to two concurrent terms of 19 years in prison followed by five years of post-release supervision.
According to the charges, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on November 5, 2019, security camera footage captures Covington stealing a grey Hyundai Sonata from in front of a residence near the intersection of 110th Road and Sutphin Boulevard.
Other footage shows the defendant in several locations near the Long Island Rail Road’s Jamaica station driving the stolen car with its headlights off. Police in an unmarked vehicle noticed the car, followed and observed Covington go through a red light near the intersection of 165th Street and Jamaica Avenue. After a check of the license plate showed that the vehicle was reported stolen less than an hour earlier, the officers activated their siren and lights.
Covington pulled away at a high rate of speed, turning from 91st Avenue onto Sutphin Boulevard. Heading southbound, Covington jumped from the car to evade police. The still-moving, unoccupied vehicle careened into a crosswalk at the intersection of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue, where it struck 60-year-old Bibi Zulaikah, pinning her under its wheels. She was pronounced dead later that night at a local hospital.
The next month, also according to the charges, on December 15, 2019, at approximately 3:10 a.m., Covington was behind the wheel of a white sedan vehicle double-parked near the intersection of Booth Memorial Avenue and 153rd Street in Flushing. Covington accelerated the vehicle and struck 45-year-old Nortaliana Jimenez, as the woman stood near her own car.
The impact knocked Jimenez onto the hood of a car parked nearby. Covington put the car in reverse and drove into the victim again, pinning her body between the sedan he was driving and a second car. Covington got out of his car and dragged the victim into a nearby gutter and punched her several times in the face and body. He verbally berated the woman and took her cellphone and purse, which contained her debit card and cash. Covington then got back behind the wheel of the white sedan and sped away.
Jimenez was discovered laying in the gutter by her son who heard her cries for help. A passing motorist called 911. Emergency responders took her to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries including a dislocated shoulder, broken leg and severe lacerations.
On December 19, 2019, police located a white Chevy Malibu sedan in Staten Island that was reported stolen from a residence in Queens six days earlier. The sedan contained several items, including a baseball bat and cigarette butts. DNA recovered from the cigarette butts matched database records identifying Covington. Jimenez identified Covington from a photo array as her attacker.
Assistant District Attorney Graham Amodeo, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Jonathan Sennett, Bureau Chief, Michelle Goldstein, Senior Deputy Bureau Chief, and Philip Anderson and Barry Frankenstein, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of the Investigations Division Gerard Brave.