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#5392: Haitian shooting in Long Island (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(Newsday, 31 Oct 00)

Gunmen Attack Woman

Cops: Legal fight on estate may be motive


A Baldwin Harbor woman was shot several times by two men 
outside her home early yesterday as she left for work, Nassau 
police said.

The woman, identified by neighbors as Eliette Dominique, 56, 
walked out of her home on Daniel Crescent about 5:20 a.m. 
to go to her job as a nurse at a Brooklyn hospital. As she was 
getting into her car, two men approached her and opened fire, 
hitting her in the head and hands. Dominique, who was involved 
in a legal battle with another woman who claimed to have been 
her dead husband's wife, is in stable condition at South Nassau 
Communities Hospital in Oceanside.

"This person was a target," said Nassau First Squad Det. Sgt. 
Richard Laursen. "They were lying in wait for her as she walked
out the door."

Laursen said detectives are investigating whether there is any 
connection between Dominique's legal case and the shooting.
The men fled without taking anything, police said. Police sources 
said detectives questioned a man who was picked up after the
shooting as he walked on a nearby street. Detectives were 
conferring with the Nassau district attorney's office last night to
determine whether they had enough evidence to charge the man, 
whom the sources did not identify.

Dominique's husband, Jean-Claude Dominique, a doctor in a 
Brooklyn hospital, was injured in a hit-and-run accident in Brooklyn
on March 22, 1999, and died a month later. That case has not been 
solved by New York City police.

Soon after her husband's death, Dominique discovered that the man 
she had married in 1980 had another wife and children in Irvington, 
N.J., and a legal battle ensued over which one of the wives would 
inherit his estate, police said.

The other woman, Betsy Dominique, filed a lawsuit contending she 
was the rightful wife, according to court decisions. Both women
produced valid marriage certificates, but Betsy Dominique, who 
married Jean-Claude in 1982, presented papers that showed Eliette
and Jean-Claude Dominique allegedly had been divorced in 1982. 
Eliette Dominique testified in Nassau County Surrogate Court that
she learned of the divorce papers only when she discovered them 
in her husband's documents after his death.

The court papers show that Jean-Claude Dominique told Eliette 
he lived part time in an apartment in Brooklyn to be near work, 
when in fact he had established a part-time residence in New Jersey.

After a handwriting expert testified that Eliette Dominique's alleged 
signature on the divorce papers had been forged, the Nassau
County Surrogate Court in July determined she was the rightful spouse.

Eliette Dominique declined to comment when reached in her hospital 
room yesterday. Betsy Dominique could not be reached for comment.

The men who attacked Eliette Dominique wore gloves and masks, 
police said. One bullet grazed her head, one grazed her thumb, and 
one went through her pinky and hit her head but did not penetrate 
the skull.

"Somehow, she managed to retreat back into the house" and call 
the police, Laursen said.

Police canvassed the area with dogs and found a loaded .22-cal. 
handgun, police said. It was unclear whether this was the gun used
in the shooting.

Neighbors yesterday said Eliette Dominique's son and daughter are 
both honor students and attend a local high school. They said the
family moved into the home about five years ago.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers 
at 800-244-TIPS.