The family of Tiarah Poyau was inconsolable after a Brooklyn jury found Regenald Moise not guilty of murder Thursday. The 22-year-old Poyau, who was getting her master's degree in accounting from St. John's University, died after being shot in the face during a 2016 J’Ouvert celebration in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. 

After two days of deliberation, the jury found Moise guilty of only the lesser charges — criminally negligent homicide and weapons possession — and he now faces prison sentences of just 1 1/3 to 4 years and a max of 15 years for each charge respectively. 

“I will never be able to see my child walk down the aisle. I’ll never be able to feel what it’s like to hold a grandchild," Poyau's mother, Vertina Brown, said after the verdict.

"We are just in disbelief the jury came back with the verdict of criminal negligence — how can they not see that this man has killed my child. The system has failed Tiarah Poyau.”


In 2016, police sources told The Associated Press and the Daily Mail that Poyau was walking with three friends during the all-night J'Ouvert festival at around 4:15 a.m. when Moise came from behind and attempted to grind on her. She told him no before he allegedly shot her in the eye at close range.

Police said Moise texted a friend admitting that he shot someone and "didnt realize his gun was loaded." He asked if he could stash the gun at his friend's place before fleeing to his girlfriend's apartment, where the gun went off again, prompting neighbors to call the police. Moise tried to get away from the apartment but crashed his car and was eventually stopped by the police. They found the gun that killed Poyau at the apartment of Moise's girlfriend. 

According to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Moise admitted to police that the gun went off. Despite the overwhelming evidence — including shell casings from the scene that matched the gun Moise admitted was his — prosecutors could not tie his DNA to the crime scene, and the jury let him off of the most severe charge.

Poyau, the daughter of a Trinidadian police officer, had interned for PricewaterhouseCoopers twice and was slated to be hired full-time once she finished her degree. 

“My heart is broken," Poyau's mother said. "I feel like I lost her all over again. He murdered my child.”

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