An international manhunt has led to the arrest of a former Hicksville man wanted in the gruesome 2001 hit-and-run murder of an 80-year-old woman in Westbury.
Sebastian Barba, 34, formerly of Hicksville, has been captured in Panama and returned to the United States for trial. He faces second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an incident and faces up to 25 years to life if convicted, said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Barba was ordered held without bail and is due to return to court Wednesday.
Barba was driving a 1995 Cadillac when he ran down Jean Renison on Feb. 6, 2001, as she crossed Post Avenue at Maple Avenue, Rice said.
The force of the collision threw Renison onto the hood of the vehicle, but Barba then applied the brakes, causing the victim to fall to the ground in front of the vehicle.
The gruesome vehicular attack continued: Barba is accused of slowly driving over the victim’s chest with the front tires and her head with the back tires while a witness screamed at him to stop, Rice said.
Barba sped away from the scene and then fled to Ecuador, where he has dual citizenship. A grand jury indicted him shortly thereafter and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Barba was later featured on a May 2005 episode of America’s Most Wanted.
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“Sebastian Barba’s cowardice kept him hidden for more than 11 years, but due to the collaborative efforts of the government bodies and law enforcement agencies involved in this manhunt, the family of Jean Renison will finally get the justice they have been waiting for,” Rice said.
Barba was detained by local authorities in Panama when his connecting flight to Ecuador from the Dominican Republic was held by the order of INTERPOL.
He was escorted back to the United States Friday, Nov. 9, by Panamanian officers and U.S. Marshals.
“Law enforcement has a very long memory..." said Rice, who thanked Nassau Police Det. Gary Ferrucci, a 43-year veteran ,who has worked the case from the beginning.
Numerous international agencies were involved in the arrest, including the U.S State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Panama City, the Panama City Police and the Servicio Nacional de Migracion in Panama.
Barba is represented by Jonathan Marks.