Brother and Friend Indicted for Hindering Prosecution
A Mastic Beach man has been indicted for an alleged execution-style murder, and his brother and friend have also been indicted for allegedly hindering the prosecution.
On May 13, 2023, Joseph Sclafani, 34, approached his ex-girlfriend to set up a meeting with Alex Smith, 32, of Mastic Beach. This was in direct violation of a Family Court order of protection. Sclafani then pulled out a black handgun from his pants pocket and threatened his ex-girlfriend, claiming he would hit her in the back if she ran.
One week later, on May 20, Smith was at Linsa Torr’s Place, a bar in Mastic Beach, with Sclafani’s ex-girlfriend. At approximately 2:00 a.m., Sclafani entered the bar and fired numerous shots at Smith. Sclafani allegedly shot Smith multiple times in the back and torso and two times in the head at close range. Sclafani attempted to flee the scene in his vehicle, but crashed close by and fled on foot. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following the murder, Sclafani was allegedly aided by his brother, Daniel Sclafani, 30, and his friend, Jeffery Mercury, 61, in escaping New York State. Both of them allegedly gave him money to help him flee the state and lied to law enforcement when asked about where he was. Mercury also allegedly drove Joseph to Virginia to help him flee. On June 4, 2023, Joseph Sclafani was found and arrested by members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
Mercury was arraigned on the indictment on June 14, 2023, before Supreme Court Justice Karen M. Willutis on the charge of first-degree hindering prosecution. Daniel Sclafani was arraigned on the indictment on June 23, 2023 before Supreme Court Justice Steven A. Pilewski for the charge of first-degree hindering prosecution. Both will be required to have GPS monitoring during pendency of the case. Mercury is due back in court on July 19, and Daniel Sclafani is due back in court on July 21.
On July 11, 2023, Joseph Sclafani was arraigned on the indictment before Supreme Court Justice John B. Collins for multiple charges which include second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, four counts of first-degree criminal contempt, and one count of second-degree criminal contempt. He is due back in court on August 23.
“This defendant allegedly shot Alex Smith multiple times at close range, killing him. Then, the
defendant’s brother and friend allegedly helped him flee the state in an attempt to avoid being
Caught,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. “This defendant ran but could not hide. His eventual apprehension was only a matter of time. Thanks to the hard work of my office, the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Squad, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, this defendant has been caught and will now answer for his alleged crimes.”