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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Robbery in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: May 24, 2000
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1970
Victims profile: Jean Auguste, 27; Ali Ibadat, 40; Jeremy Mele, 19; Ramon Nazario, 44; and Anita Smith, 23 (restaurant employees)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Flushing, Queens, New York city, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without parole, February 21, 2001

The Wendy's Massacre was a brutal killing that took place in a Wendy's fast-food restaurant at 40-12 Main Street in Flushing, Queens, New York, on May 24, 2000.

Robbery and execution of employees

The killings were carried out by 36-year-old John Taylor, a former employee of the restaurant, and his accomplice Craig Godineaux. The robbery was carefully planned, as Taylor had the manager (whom he knew) of the restaurant summon the entire staff to the basement on the pretense of having a meeting.

Once in the basement, Taylor and Godineaux bound and gagged all seven employees at gunpoint and shot each of them in the head at point-blank range with a Bryco-Jennings Model J38 .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

All but two of the employees died. One of the survivors dialed 9-1-1, and police arrived to find the victims and discovered $2,400 missing from the safe.

Arrests and trial

The NYPD arrested Taylor and Godineaux less than 48 hours after the killings. Evidence quickly mounted against the pair, including eyewitness testimony, ballistics, and fingerprints. On January 22, 2001, Godineaux pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to life in prison.

On November 19, 2002, Taylor was convicted on 20 counts of murder and attempted murder. One week later, on November 26, the jury sentenced Taylor to death.


On October 23, 2007, the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, New York's highest court, vacated the death penalty portion of the verdict.

The Queens prosecutor's office fought unsuccessfully to have Taylor's case declared an exception to a 2004 Appeals Court's decision that found New York's death penalty law unconstitutional because of a flaw in its mandated instructions to the jury.

On November 29, 2007 Taylor was re-sentenced to life without parole for the five murders. As of 2007, he had been the only inmate on Death Row in New York.


Killed in the massacre were:

  • Jean Auguste, 27

  • Ali Ibadat, 40

  • Jeremy Mele, 19

  • Ramon Nazario, 44

  • Anita Smith, 23

Seriously wounded:

  • Ja Quione Johnson, 18

  • Patricio (Patrick) Castro, 23


Wendy's Massacre Revisited: A Killer Speaks Out

Craig Godineaux Recalls The Horrific Events From 2000

Nov 2, 2007

The Wendy's Massacre of 2000 was one of the most gruesome mass murders in New York City history. The two men responsible are now both in prison for life. But for the first time, one of them is speaking out, exclusively to CBS 2.

"Everybody looks at me as a criminal, as a monster," says Craig Godineaux. "I ain't no monster. I'm a human being."

But by the age of 30, Godineaux was a multiple murderer. He and his friend John Taylor robbed the Wendy's in the Flushing section of Queens and shot seven employees execution style.

Five were killed.

"I felt ashamed and disgusted," Godineaux tells CBS 2.

And now, he's doing the hard time -- five life sentences at the notorious Attica prison upstate, where he says he remains torn and tormented by the events of that gruesome night in May of 2000.

"I'm sorry for what I did. If I could change it, I'd change life period," he says.

But that night is etched in stone and on videotape. In surveillance footage obtained exclusively by CBS 2, you see both men inside the fast food restaurant. Unsuspecting employees are lured into the basement by the manager.

Once downstairs, the men duct taped the employees and led them to the freezer.

"As he escorted people in, the manager broke free. Once I knocked him down, John stood over him and shot him in the head. So I started screaming," Godineaux recalls.

Taylor then shoots one other employee before handing the gun over to Godineaux.

"He put it in my hands and told me, 'Just close your eyes.' And I closed my eyes. And once I closed my eyes, everything landed," he says.

Prosecutors went after Taylor with the death penalty, but the court deemed Godineaux to be mentally retarded, so the death penalty was off the table.

Godineaux has a new lawyer now, and she wants a judge to throw out his plea. She says Godineaux didn't have the capacity to make a plea.

"He has a guardian so he's essentially a lifelong child, and he was at the time he made the plea," says his attorney, Susan Betzjitomir.

But Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who was at the scene and prosecuted the case, disagrees. "There's no way that neither I or Judge Fischer would have accepted his plea if there were any doubt in our minds he was competent," Brown says.

And Benjamin Nazario, whose brother Ramon was murdered by Godineaux, isn't buying it either. "He wasn't mentally retarded to pull the trigger. He knew what he was doing," he says.

"I'd like forgiveness, but they're never gonna forgive me, so I'm not looking for no miracle from nobody," Godineaux says.

Nazario tells CBS 2 he won't accept an apology from Godineaux. "Nope. Never! Sorry for what? Sorry he took the life? Sorry doesn't help anything."

For those who wondered why Godineaux just didn't shoot Taylor himself at the time, he says he had never shot a gun before and was afraid that if he missed, he'd end up dead. Godineaux's attorney says she'll file the motion to throw away his sentence early next week.

Stay with and CBS 2 for the latest in this newly unfolding story.


Craig Godineaux & John B. Taylor

Craig Godineaux, 30, and John Taylor, 36, are accused of entering a Wendy's in Flushing, Queens, on May 24, 2000, and ordering seven employees into a basement freezer.

There, they allegedly bound and gagged their victims with duct tape, placed bags over their heads, then shot them one by one in the head during a robbery.

"[The victims] were marched single file into a big freezer box. They were told to get on their knees, and they were each shot by the defendants once in the head," said Lasak Assistant District Attorney Greg Lasak. Two of the employees survived the attack, in which $3,200 was stolen from the eatery. Police say most of that money was found at Taylor's home.

Craig Godineaux told the cops he didn't wear a mask during the robbery that left five dead and two wounded because "nobody was going to be left." The suspect also allegedly told cops that he put a coat on victim Anita Smith to keep her warm in the basement freezer before she was murdered on May 24.

The new information came out in the Queens courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy as Godineaux and Taylor were arraigned on five murder charges. Taylor, a former co-worker of some of the victims, was also arraigned on unrelated indictments, charging him with three robberies of McDonald's restaurants in June of last year.

After his arrest on Long Island Taylor told two detectives while en route back to Queens that they should arrest Godineaux. "Please get Craig," Taylor allegedly said. "Please get Craig because I was the only one who saw him shoot those people. I knew three of those people. It was supposed to be a robbery."

In reading the charges against Godineaux, the suspect made it clear to detectives he did not wear a mask because the murders were part of the robbery plan. "This is that fat bastard's [Taylor's] fault," Godineaux allegedly said. "I only shot the survivors." Godineaux later allegedly added. "I shot five of them. I didn't shoot the girl. That fat bastard shot Anita [Smith]. I liked her. I put a coat on her before she went into the freezer."

On January 22, 2001, Craig Godineaux pleaded guilty to murdering three people and wounding two others. According to prosecutors Godineaux, who will be sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without parole, was spared from the death penalty because he is mentally retarded. "I know my apologies to the families will never bring their loved ones back," he said at his sentencing hearing on February 22. "I do deserve what I get. I don't expect nobody to accept my apology." As for Taylor, prosecutors plan to push for the death penalty in his trial.


Survivor of Wendy's Massacre Offers Gruesome Details

By Sarah Kershaw - The New York Times

November 7, 2002

Two and a half years after he survived a massacre at a Wendy's restaurant in Queens, fainting and then playing dead as five co-workers were executed around him, the star witness against the man on trial in the murders took the stand yesterday and gave the first inside look at a night of crushing violence.

The witness, Patrick Castro, 24, told a Queens jury of waking up in a walk-in refrigerator, his head covered in a plastic garbage bag, his eyes and mouth stuck shut with duct tape and his wrists bound tightly together behind his back, to find himself surrounded by bodies.

''Is everybody O.K.?'' he recalled saying. ''Is everybody O.K.?''

There was silence, Mr. Castro testified yesterday.

Mr. Castro's testimony is considered crucial to the case against John B. Taylor, who could be sentenced to death if he is convicted. Mr. Castro, breaking down in tears as the prosecutor asked him to identify the defendant sitting 10 feet away in a crowded Queens courtroom. Then, he recounted the massacre from beginning to end, speaking publicly about it for the first time yesterday and providing gruesome details of a crime that transfixed the city when it occurred on May 24, 2000.

In doing so, Mr. Castro, an immigrant from Ecuador who had taken a job at the Wendy's on Main Street in Flushing only two weeks before the robbery and murders, told the story of his unlikely survival.

The first indication of trouble that night came through the speakerphone, Mr. Castro said. He said he noticed two men come into the store and heard one of them, Mr. Taylor, ask to speak to the manager. He said that he thought nothing of that.

A short while later, a voice on the speakerphone said, ''Come downstairs.''

Mr. Castro said he assumed it was the manager, but he wondered why he would call for a meeting so close to closing time, near midnight.

Mr. Castro and the other employees complied, he said, walking in single file down to the stairs to the basement, where a man that Mr. Castro described throughout his testimony as ''the chunky man,'' and whom he later identified as Mr. Taylor, was holding a gun at his hip.

The most haunting part of Mr. Castro's testimony came as he recounted what happened after he fainted. When he came to, he said, he knew he was still in the walk-in refrigerator where the employees had been ordered to go after they were bound and gagged.

It was in that basement refrigerator that Mr. Castro had carefully placed a tray of uncooked patties, after cleaning up the hamburger station to get ready for closing, he said. And even though that night was only his fourth day of work, he was familiar with the chill of that air and the scent of the raw meat, the tomatoes and the chopped onions that were stored inside.

As he became more alert, he said, he felt a heavy weight bearing down on his knees, and he began to remember, in vivid flashes of horror.

There was a man with a gun, the ''chunky man.'' Someone said, at one point, ''There are no more bullets.'' There were two gunshots, so loud that his ears were ringing, and then the cashier screamed: ''What happened? What happened?'' Then another shot rang out and the cashier was silent.

As he pieced it all together, he wriggled his wrists free of the tape, peeled away the plastic from his head, ripped the tape off his eyes and mouth and peered out around him. ''Is everybody O.K.?'' he recalled saying, as he saw the bodies on the floor. ''Is everybody O.K.?''

No one answered, Mr. Castro said, and he soon realized that there was blood dripping from his face.

''What was the weight on your knees?'' asked Daniel Saunders, an assistant district attorney.

''Ali,'' Mr. Castro said, referring to Ali Abidat, 40, a co-worker who had been killed.

Mr. Castro said he did not know it then, but he had been shot in his right cheek, just below his ear, and left for dead.

Throughout his testimony, relatives of the victims sobbed, particularly as Mr. Castro mentioned the names of the dead. Joan Truman-Smith, whose 22-year-old daughter, Anita C. Smith, was one of the slaying's victims, burrowed her head in her hands and wept as Mr. Castro recounted Ms. Smith's screams. Mr. Taylor did not look up from the defense table throughout Mr. Castro's testimony.

Lawyers for Mr. Taylor, 38, have argued that he is guilty only of killing the Wendy's manager, Jean Dumel Auguste, 27, and that an accomplice, Craig Godineaux, killed the other four employees. Others shot and killed that night were Jeremy Mele, 18, and Ramon Nazario, 44.

Prosecutors said Mr. Taylor and Mr. Godineaux, now 32, got away with $2,400. They said Mr. Castro was left with minor wounds, and another employee, Jaquione Johnson, now 20, was seriously injured.

Mr. Johnson, who is still recovering from being shot in the head, is expected to testify today.

Mr. Godineaux, who is mildly retarded, pleaded guilty to his role in the crime in February 2001 and is serving a life sentence without a chance of parole.

If the jury agrees with the defense's single murder contention, Mr. Taylor cannot be sentenced to death. Under New York's capital punishment law, which was reinstated in 1995, Mr. Taylor must be convicted of at least two murders to be eligible for the death penalty.

Mr. Taylor's lawyer, John Youngblood of the State Capital Defender Office, focused in his cross-examination on the fact that Mr. Castro could not see the killer, because of the plastic bag over his head. Under questioning from the prosecutor, Mr. Castro said that after he freed himself and saw his dead co-workers, he heard a noise and feared the gunmen were still in the restaurant. He said he then put his hands behind his back, slipped the garbage bag over his head again, pulled Mr. Abidat's body back onto his knees, and laid still.

''I was thinking this guy was going to come back and finish me off,'' Mr. Castro said.

Mr. Castro said after waiting a few minutes, he heard another noise. This time, he saw that it was Mr. Johnson, also inside the refrigerator, who looked, Mr. Castro said, ''like he'd been punched or beaten'' but was ''trying to smile'' when he saw Mr. Castro was alive.

Mr. Castro said he was able to carry Mr. Johnson out of the refrigerator and prop him up in a chair. He said he crawled ''like a baby'' around the basement, looking for signs of the gunmen, and when he saw none, made his way into the manager's office to call the police. He carried Mr. Johnson upstairs on his shoulders, he said.

When the police arrived a few minutes later, he said he ran to open the locked door. ''I've never been so happy to see the police in my life,'' Mr. Castro said.


Life Without Parole for Wendy's Killer

By Sarah Kershaw - The New York Times

February 22, 2001

A Queens man who pleaded guilty to taking part in the massacre of five workers at a Wendy's restaurant in Flushing was sentenced to life in prison yesterday, but not before four of the victims' relatives addressed him in court and told him how the shootings had ripped apart their families and their lives.

Some of the relatives yelled at the man, Craig Godineaux; all of them wept along with their loved ones in the crowded courtroom as they explained how the crime haunted them. Many spectators cried along with the relatives. Even the court reporter struggled to maintain her composure as she furiously typed a transcript of the proceeding.

After the emotionally searing scene, and after several minutes during which the relatives and nearly everyone else in the room collected themselves, Justice Steven W. Fisher imposed the maximum penalty of life in prison without parole for Mr. Godineaux, 31.

Mr. Godineaux was one of two men accused in the robbery and execution-style slayings at the Wendy's fast-food restaurant on Main Street last spring. The other man, John B. Taylor, who Mr. Godineaux has said masterminded the crime, is facing capital punishment and is expected to go to trial later this year.

The scene yesterday, in State Supreme Court in Queens, was even more wrenching than the courtroom drama that surrounded Mr. Godineaux's surprise guilty plea last month. One by one, three relatives of the dead and the mother of one of the two workers who were shot but survived walked up to a lectern in the courtroom in Kew Gardens to address Justice Fisher. Mr. Godineaux sat to the side at the defense table with his back to them, but they addressed him, too.

''Mr. Godineaux, I don't know you, but my family will never forget you,'' said Babette Mele, 27, whose younger brother Jeremy, 18, was killed. ''You have deprived the world of the greatest person who I will ever know.''

Loretta Johnson, whose son, Jaquione Johnson, 18, was shot in the mouth at close range and is still recovering from his injuries, told Mr. Godineaux, ''Craig, the crime that you chose to commit really is a shame before God.''

She added, ''I don't have a heaven or a hell to put you in, but God will judge you for what you did.''

Mr. Godineaux sat with his arms folded, his head hung low, staring down at the table, until Joan Truman-Smith, whose 22-year-old daughter, Anita C. Smith, was killed in the massacre, demanded that he look at her.

''Just look at us,'' Ms. Truman-Smith shouted. ''Turn around and look at us, get up, look at us! It hurt!''

His face wet with tears, Mr. Godineaux turned for a moment and then turned back and hung his head again. When the victims' relatives were done speaking, Justice Fisher asked Mr. Godineaux if he had anything to say.

''I know my apology to the families will never bring their loved ones back,'' he said after a long pause. ''I do deserve what I get. I don't expect nobody to accept my apology. What I did was wrong.''

Justice Fisher said that Mr. Godineaux had ''condemned himself to spend the rest of his life caged in a prison'' for his role in the massacre, which the judge described as ''a monstrous, vicious and senseless crime.''

''He ended the promising lives of five young people,'' Justice Fisher said, ''causing untold sorrow and grief to their families and to all who knew and loved them.''

It took at least 15 minutes for Justice Fisher to read the sentences for each of the 47 counts against Mr. Godineaux. He concluded by saying: ''The defendant has waived his right to appeal. Take the defendant out.''

Mr. Godineaux was spared the possibility of a death sentence after prosecutors agreed with his lawyers that he is mentally retarded and therefore could not face capital punishment under state law. The sentence was the maximum penalty for each of the counts of murder and robbery with which he was charged. He waived his right to appeal as a condition of the prosecution's accepting his guilty plea, according to one of his lawyers.

The Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, held a news conference after the sentencing and said he hoped the sentence would bring ''some degree of comfort'' to the victims' families. ''Justice as to Godineaux has been swift and it's been certain,'' he said.


Craig Godineaux

January 22, 2001

One of the two New York Wendy's restaurant killers pleaded guilty to murdering three people and wounding two others during a May 24 robbery that left seven dead. According to prosecutors 30-year-old Craig Godineaux, who will be sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without parole, was spared from the death penalty because he is mentally retarded. As for the other suspect, John Taylor, 36, prosecutors plan to push for the death penalty in his trial which is scheduled to begin next month.


Forestalling Death Penalty In Wendy's Massacre Case

By Sarah Kershaw - The New York Times

November 21, 2000

The lawyer for one of the defendants in a massacre that left five people dead at a Wendy's restaurant in Queens last spring said yesterday that her client is mentally retarded and therefore cannot be put to death if convicted in the case.

The Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, was to decide this week whether to seek the death penalty against Craig Godineaux, 30, and John Taylor, 36, who were charged in the execution-style slayings at a Wendy's in Flushing. But Mr. Brown agreed yesterday to wait another two months while prosecutors investigate the claim that Mr. Godineaux is mentally retarded.

New York is one of 13 states that has banned the execution of mentally retarded defendants. The decision yesterday in the Wendy's case comes at a time when there is a growing national debate over whether mentally retarded criminals should be put to death in states that allow capital punishment.

The two men were arraigned in late July, giving Mr. Brown, who has sought the death penalty in other murder cases, 120 days to decide whether to pursue the death penalty. A 60-day extension was granted yesterday by Justice Steven W. Fisher of State Supreme Court in Queens.

Prosecutors have described Mr. Godineaux as Mr. Taylor's accomplice in one of the most horrific crimes in the borough's history. Mr. Taylor worked at the Wendy's where the killings took place, as well as at a clothing store in Jamaica, where Mr. Godineaux was a security guard.

The lawyer for Mr. Godineaux said yesterday that her client was mentally retarded, but she declined to provide the type of specific information about Mr. Godineaux that is used to determine whether a defendant is mentally retarded, including his I.Q.

''Craig Godineaux is mentally retarded,'' said his lawyer, Colleen Brady, of the Capital Division of the Legal Aid Society. ''Under New York law, that means that in a case like this, he could not receive the death penalty. We are grateful that the district attorney has extended the time in which to consider this matter and investigate it further.''

The prosecution must now investigate whether Mr. Godineaux's mental status meets New York's legal definition for mental retardation as it applies to death penalty cases.

Experts classify people as mentally retarded if their I.Q.'s are below about 70 and they have an inability to adapt to daily life.

In New York, mental retardation is defined under state criminal law as ''significantly subaverage general intelligence and functioning,'' accompanied by behavioral problems and evident before the defendant turned 18.

In order for Mr. Godineaux, who has served three prison terms in the past decade for robbery and drug offenses, to be deemed mentally retarded, proof of such a condition has to be found in school records, tests or other documents from his childhood.

In addition, psychological evaluations will be conducted by experts for both the defense and the prosecution over the next two months, prosecutors and Ms. Brady said.

''The defense has offered some information with regard to intellectual functioning in the past,'' said Mary de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brown, referring to Mr. Godineaux's mental status. But she said evidence that he was mentally retarded before he became an adult would be pivotal in deciding if the defense's claim has merit.

In criminal cases, defendants deemed mentally retarded are still considered responsible for the crime, unlike defendants who successfully plead not guilty by reason of insanity. In New York, a mentally retarded person can be sentenced to life in prison without parole, but not death.

In the May massacre, five Wendy's employees were killed after being bound and gagged and forced to march, one by one, into a freezer room. There, they were shot in the head. Two other employees survived.

Dozens of relatives of the victims met privately with Mr. Brown yesterday, Ms. de Bourbon said, as he explained the latest development in the case. The relatives could not be reached yesterday for comment, but several have said at earlier hearings that they are eager to see Mr. Taylor and Mr. Godineaux put to death.

Benjamin Nazario, the brother of Ramon Nazario, one of those killed, said after the defendants were arraigned in July, ''I want them dead.''


2 Men Arrested In Killings of 5 At Restaurant

By Robert D. McFadden - The New York Times

May 27, 2000

Two men with criminal histories, one of whom, the police said, staged five terrifying gunpoint robberies at fast-food outlets in New York last year, were arrested yesterday and charged in the execution-style shootings of seven bound-and-gagged workers at a Wendy's restaurant in Queens.

Less than 48 hours after the grisly massacre in Wendy's basement walk-in refrigerator, in which five victims were slain with bullets to the head and two were shot in the head and left for dead, the police -- acting on a tip -- seized John B. Taylor, 36, outside a relative's house in Brentwood, in Suffolk County. They said he had worked at several fast-food restaurants in New York, including the Wendy's where the massacre occurred.

A short time later, detectives in Queens said they had taken into custody a second man, Craig Godineaux, 30, a security guard who lives in South Jamaica. He was seized at the SCR Clothing store at 89-74 165th Street, Jamaica, where he works. The authorities said that he had a record of two convictions for selling drugs and one for robbery, and that he had served three state prison terms -- of 10 months, two years and three years -- in the past decade.

The case against the suspects appeared to be strong. Detectives said Mr. Taylor and Mr. Godineaux made statements implicating each other in the crimes. Each acknowledged that they had robbed the Wendy's restaurant, but Mr. Taylor said that Mr. Godineaux had shot the employees, and Mr. Godineaux said that Mr. Taylor had done the shooting.

Investigators said Mr. Taylor had a .380-caliber pistol -- the same caliber as the gun used in the shootings -- in a belt pack when he was seized. The weapon was turned over to the Police Department laboratory for ballistics tests to determine if it was the gun used in the killings.

After arresting Mr. Taylor, investigators searched his sister-in-law's house and found cash, in a canvas bag, that was believed to have been stolen from Wendy's, and a videotape that had apparently been taken by the assailants from the restaurant's surveillance camera at the time of the killings. The videotape, officials said, was likely to show the two men in the dining area of Wendy's, but not the carnage in the basement.

Moreover, the investigators said they had found Mr. Taylor's palm print on a box in the blood-spattered refrigerator, and they said he had been identified by a witness as one of two men who emerged from the Wendy's, on Main Street in Flushing, about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, minutes after the shootings. The witness said one of the suspects was tall and the other was short. Mr. Godineaux is 6 feet 4 inches tall, while Mr. Taylor is 5 feet 5.

Patrick E. Kelleher, the first deputy police commissioner, said at a news conference last night that Mr. Taylor had been identified by a tip to the Police Department's Crime Stoppers phone line not long after the shootings.

About $2,400 was taken from an office in the basement, officials said, and the shootings -- which stunned the city and even some law enforcement officers with their brutality -- were apparently carried out to eliminate witnesses to the robbery, some of whom might have recognized one of the assailants.

The suspects were charged last night with armed robbery and other charges, including first-degree murder, which can be punishable by death. The police said it was unclear whether one or two men had fired the shots in what appeared to be an inside job, with the assailants aware of the Wendy's operations and layout and the manager's name, which they invoked in a ruse to get in at closing time.

Mr. Taylor jumped $3,500 bail in a robbery case last autumn, and a dispute erupted between prosecutors and court administrators yesterday over the amount of the bail and the handling of the case by the Queens district attorney and a Criminal Court judge.

Mr. Taylor was said to have worked at several New York fast-food outlets in recent years, including a McDonald's in Manhattan that he was convicted of burglarizing in 1996, and as recently as last fall at the Wendy's in Flushing.

The swift arrests came as more than 100 detectives worked around the clock in pursuit of numerous leads in a case that had drawn expressions of shock from city officials, prosecutors, police officials, employees of fast-food outlets and ordinary New Yorkers.

Wendy's and Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had announced rewards totaling $60,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailants, said that a relief fund had been established to aid the families of the victims.

Hundreds of people crowded the sidewalk outside the Wendy's yesterday as a makeshift memorial of flowers, lighted candles and written prayers grew against the wall of the restaurant. Passers-by stopped to pray and some spoke of their sorrow.

''I feel bad,'' Rinkel Bhasin, 23, said after slipping behind a police barricade to add her bouquet of white daisies to the memorial. She said she had often patronized the Wendy's.

One of the two survivors, Jaquione Johnson, 18, who lives with an aunt in Jamaica, Queens, underwent six hours of surgery yesterday for his head wound and remained in critical condition in an intensive care unit of the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens.

The second survivor, Patrick Castro, 22, of Queens, was released from the same hospital late Thursday and was under police protection. Mr. Castro, who had been shot through both cheeks, played dead until the assailants departed, then wriggled free of the duct tape bindings and summoned help with a call to 911.

Five families, meantime, were making arrangements for funerals. Those killed were Anita C. Smith, 22, of South Jamaica; Ramon Nazario, 44, of Flushing; Jeremy Mele, 18, of Neptune, N.J.; Ali Ibadat, 40, of Ridgewood, Queens; and Jean Dumel Auguste, 27, the Wendy's night manager, who lived in Brooklyn.

Commissioner Kelleher noted last night that Mr. Auguste had dismissed Mr. Taylor from his job at Wendy's last October, but he did not cite that as a motive for the shootings.

While little was known of Mr. Godineaux last night, two neighbors said he was the father of a 5-year-old girl, attended church and was an aspiring rap artist. A woman who identified herself as Mr. Godineaux's mother briefly opened the door of her two-story home in South Jamaica and said: ''I'm just overwhelmed.''

Mr. Taylor was described by acquaintances as the father of two sons and a daughter, who had lived with his children in an apartment in Lefrak City, in Elmhurst, Queens.

''He was a very secretive guy,'' said George Gross, a neighbor from across the hall who said he also did Mr. Taylor's tax returns over the past decade. ''He never opened up to anybody.'' He said Mr. Taylor often dressed in a suit and tie, even when he worked in fast-food outlets or as a maintenance man for a Caldor store.

Law enforcement officials said that in 1996, Mr. Taylor worked as an assistant manager at two McDonald's restaurants in Manhattan, one at 341 Fifth Avenue, and the other at 22 East 42nd Street. On June 24, 1996, the officials said, employees just arriving for work at 4 a.m. discovered Mr. Taylor and a second man in a burglary attempt at the Fifth Avenue store.

The two men fled, but Mr. Taylor was recognized, and the police arrested him a day later at the 42nd Street McDonald's. On July 12, 1996, he pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary. While prosecutors requested a six-month jail term, Mr. Taylor, as a first offender, was sentenced to five years of probation.

Former co-workers at the Fifth Avenue restaurant said Mr. Taylor was involved in several scams, including stealing receipts and placing ghost workers on the payroll and taking their pay for himself.

Law enforcement officials said that Mr. Taylor robbed or tried to rob at least five fast-food restaurants in Queens last year, all within an eight-day period in June.

One June 15, they said, he held up a Burger King at 78-03 Queens Boulevard and got away in a dark green car. Twenty minutes later, they said, he held up a McDonald's restaurant at 80-03 Queens Boulevard. The authorities said he escaped from the two robberies with an undetermined amount of cash.

Within a 30-minute period on June 19, the police said, Mr. Taylor held up two McDonald's restaurants, one at 38-02 Queens Boulevard and the other at 45-06 Greenpoint Boulevard. He got away with $1,192 in the Greenpoint robbery, the police said.

Four days later, on June 23, he returned to the McDonald's on Greenpoint Boulevard about 8 p.m. It was crowded, a manager recalled, and the man flashed a gun stuck in his waistband and demanded money. The clerk at the cash register recognized him from the earlier holdup.

''Is this the same thing?'' she said, according to court papers.

Mr. Taylor said yes.

Following his instructions, she stuffed a McDonald's carryout bag with cash -- $427 -- and he walked out. But as he did so, the store manager followed and, spotting Police Officer Michael F. Garcia walking his beat, frantically pointed at Mr. Taylor, who ran.

Officer Garcia, who had talked to the manager about the earlier robbery, caught Mr. Taylor a few blocks away. After he was identified by the victims, Mr. Taylor was charged with first-degree robbery and criminal possession of stolen property. He was not charged with weapons possession because the gun turned out to be a starter's pistol.

By the time of his arrest, detectives investigating the series of robberies at fast-food restaurants had discovered what they thought was a pattern -- the description of the suspect and his method of operation were the same in each case -- and they matched Mr. Taylor and the robbery for which he was arrested.

He was arraigned the next day before Judge Pauline Mullins in Queens Criminal Court. Prosecutors asked for bail of $100,000, citing the charge of robbery, a violent felony, admissions the suspect had made and the fact that a weapon had been used. Judge Mullins, however, set bail at $3,500, a sum Mr. Taylor was unable to raise until Aug. 10, when a friend obtained a bond to free him.

David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the State Office of Court Administration, yesterday defended the bail decision and said that the fault lay with the office of the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown. Mr. Bookstaver said the bail would have been increased if prosecutors had sought an indictment from a grand jury during the weeks when Mr. Taylor was jailed at Rikers Island. That would have carried the case into State Supreme Court.

Mary de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brown, disputed that contention. ''In most instances, the Supreme Court will not disturb the bail set by the Criminal Court,'' she said. She said no indictment was sought because the prosecutors were conducting plea negotiations with Mr. Taylor's lawyer.

Mr. Taylor, who was still on probation from his 1996 conviction when he was arrested in the Queens robbery, was to appear Jan. 6 at a probation violation hearing. But the plea negotiations broke down in September, and in October he failed to show up for a court appearance. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest on Nov. 5. He has been a fugitive since then.

Mr. Taylor was arrested yesterday at his sister-in-law's home at 11 Dillmont Street in Brentwood, a short time after Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mr. Kelleher held a news conference to release his name and photograph as a person wanted for questioning in the massacre.

New York City detectives had placed the house -- a shabby, tan, split-level -- under surveillance during the day, unaware that he was already inside. As it happened, a child was involved in a bicycle accident outside the home, and the Brentwood police arrived. During the commotion, Mr. Taylor came out to watch, and was seized on the stoop.



Graig Godineaux



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