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NY suspect gets death penalty expert as lawyer

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New York

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A defense lawyer with experience in death penalty cases was assigned Monday to one of the suspects in the killing of a Bronx cabbie.

The defendant, Tommy Smalls, 26, appeared in federal court so an attorney from the "capital panel" of lawyers, specially trained in capital punishment law, could be officially named to represent him.

Manhattan lawyer Peter Quijano, who received the assignment, would not comment on the case.

The charge against Smalls, carjacking with intent to cause death, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.

The same charge was brought last week against Takiem Ewing, 21, Tyrone Felder, 25, and Kareem Martin, 26. They will have death-penalty lawyers as well.

All are charged in the Aug. 12 carjacking killing of Aboubacar Bah. They have not entered pleas.

The complaint says Smalls is known as "Tommy Guns." It says he was arrested based on video surveillance footage and the word of an informant. One video shows Bah's body being dumped from his car onto the street, the complaint says.

The complaints against all four suspects link the killing of Bah to the killing a week earlier of another cabbie, Maudo Kane. But they are charged only in the Aug. 12 killing.

The U.S. attorney's office said Kane's killing and two Yonkers robberies also mentioned in the complaints are still being investigated.

The suspects are expected back in court Aug. 30.

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