The trial of Taiquan Williams is set for Queens Supreme Court on December 1, a spokesman for the Queens district Attorney’s office told the Echo.
Williams pleaded not guilty to several charges, including second-degree murder and robbery at his arraignment hearing earlier this year.
Williams, who claims the shooting was accidental, apologized at the hearing for the death of McMahon, who died from a single gunshot wound three days after a botched robbery that took place in the early hours of Aug. 9, 2002.
That apology has been rejected by McMahon’s widow.
“Sorry doesn’t cut it when this beautiful Irishman is no longer in our lives,” Maureen McMahon was reported as saying in newspaper reports. “This man was a kind, gentle soul who was in the prime of his life.”
McMahon, from the Scotstown area, had lived in Levittown, L.I.
Williams was already serving a 1-to-3 year term at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility near Albany for weapons possession when he was indicted for murdering McMahon.
He confessed to his involvement in McMahon’s death when questioned by detectives investigating the robbery, which was carried out by Williams and a second assailant.
McMahon’s cell phone and wallet were stolen after he was shot.
McMahon, who was 46, was working a night shift supervisor for the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water and Sewers and was in his official car when he was shot once in the head.
Evidence in the case points to McMahon resisting his assailants and wrestling with Williams for the gun when the weapon went off.
After being wounded, McMahon attempted to drive away but his car crashed into the wall of a warehouse just a few yards away.
McMahon was a family man with a wife and three children whose lives were shattered by his violent and tragic death, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in announcing the Williams indictment.
Williams is charged with murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degree and tampering with physical evidence. He faces up to 25 years to life if convicted on the most serious charge.
McMahon died three days after the shooting at Elmhurst Hospital. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was at his bedside shortly before he died.
A month prior to the shooting, Williams was released on parole after serving four years for stealing property and drug possession.
In late 2003, Williams was back in the penitentiary after being arrested for shooting his gun in the air.
Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is in New York and Washington, D.C. this week for meetings and talks linked to a number of matters including the 50th anniversary of Ireland joining the United Nations.
Ahern is due to meet U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. During the meeting, Ahern will reinforce Ireland’s long standing commitment to the U.N. which includes frequent contributions of Irish troops to peacekeeping missions.
Ireland first attempted to join the world body in 1946 but the republic’s entry was vetoed by the Soviet Union. Entry was secured in December, 1955 when Moscow lifted its objection.
During his visit to Washington Ahern will meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The two discuss a number of issues with Rice including the Northern Ireland peace process, Iraq and the Middle East, and the plight of the undocumented Irish.
Ahern will also discuss immigration reform with Sen. Edward Kennedy and will speak by phone with U.s. special envoy to the peace process Mitchell Reiss. Reiss will be outside the country during Ahern’s D.C. stopover.
TALKS GO SOMEWHERE
The Irish American Unity Conference has drawn renewed confidence from its recent panel discussion in Washing dealing with the Northern Ireland peace process.
“In my many years of working in Irish affairs, this is the
first time I have experienced a meeting of Irish political parties and government officials where people with both common and many opposing opinions could discuss, in a
constructive manner, methods of resolving these problems,” IAUC national president Bob Linnon said after the one day gathering.
“It gives our organization great optimism that with continued hard work these parties can be part of a government that benefits all the people of Ireland,” linnon said.
The discussion took place at the Georgetown University Law Center and was jointly moderated by former congressman Bruce Morrison and attorney Ed Lynch of the Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland.
Panelists included representatives of the Irish, U.S. and British governments, U.S.-based activists and representatives of the SDLP, UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party.