3 men found guilty in shooting death of Clinton Township store owner
Mount Clemens — After two days of deliberations a jury Wednesday found three men guilty of the murder of the owner of a Clinton Township party store.
Kenneth Hill, 27, and Jomar Robinson, 26, both of Clinton Township, and Darius Diaz-Gaskin, 25, of Detroit were tried together in Macomb Circuit Court and found guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery, felony firearm possession and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
"I am happy justice was done," said Linda Sulaka, widow of slain store owner Basim Sulaka. "I just miss my husband."
Hill, Robinson and Diaz-Gaskin face life in prison without parole. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 4.
A fourth man, Clinton Grayson, 26, of Detroit was sentenced earlier to life in prison without parole on first-degree felony murder and other charges. A jury found him guilty in April.
According to the store's videotape, during the 1 minute, 44 second attack, Diaz-Gaskin, Robinson and Grayson entered the Moon Light Party Store on Harper around 11 p.m. March 28, 2014. Owner Basim Sulaka stood up and in less than 20 seconds was shot in the back with Diaz-Gaskin's 9 mm handgun.
Vivian Sulaka, Basim Sulaka's sister, said he was a peaceful man who didn't keep a gun at his store nor did he install thick Plexiglas.
"That store was his house and his customers, along with his wife and two daughters, were his family as well," she said.
She said her brother told his employees that if a robbery happened, hand over the money; money comes and goes but you only get one life.
"What they did to my brother was not right. He would have given them the shirt of his back," she said. "They didn't give him a chance. I hope that they rot in jail."
During closing arguments Tuesday, Richard Glanda, lawyer for Diaz-Gaskin, who is said to have shot Sulaka, said his client thought the gun's safety was on.
Glanda said Diaz-Gaskin was blocking Sulaka of Sterling Heights from "jumping" on Grayson when the gun went off.
Glanda said Diaz-Gaskin will appeal.
In a letter read by Glanda, Diaz-Gaskin wrote, "I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I wish I could take it all back."
"There are no winners here," Glanda said. "This has been a tragedy for all the families. Their lives will never be the same."
Therese Tobin, Macomb County's chief trial attorney, said Sulaka was shot in the back shortly after the men entered the store just before it was to close for the night.
Robinson's lawyer, Joseph Kosmala, told the jury once more that the case was about the element of intent. He claims Robinson never intended any of this to happen. "Mr. Robinson never had a gun. Mr. Robinson never shot anybody. All he had was a bag," Kosmala said.
"In some litigation you have the law on your side and some litigation you have facts on your side," Kosmala said. "In this case we had neither."
Jeffrey Collins, Hill's attorney, said his client admits to owning and being the driver of the tan four-door Buick with a loud exhaust. Hill told police Grayson, his cousin, brought Diaz-Gaskin and Robinson to his home on the night of March 28. He also knew both men.
According to Collins, Hill didn't see guns while he was driving, didn't possess a gun and never set foot in the store.
Collins would not comment following Wednesday's verdict.
For Basim's daughter, Kayla Sulaka, the three got what they deserved.
"They all killed him in our eyes," she said.
Judge Mary Chrzanowski presided over the trial.