Mattituck man arrested in connection with fatal burglary

Martin Tarpey

An Aquebogue man and a Mattituck man fled an East Islip house they’d broken into last week after one of its occupants defended the property with a shotgun and killed one of their accomplices and left another in critical condition, Suffolk County Police said.

Philipe Robinette, 27, of Aquebogue and Martin Tarpey, 25, of Mattituck and their two accomplices, one wielding a .22 caliber rifle, forced their way into the house just before 12:30 a.m. last Wednesday, April 13, and shot a pit bull named Tasha, police said.

The male occupant of the house, who lived there with two women, confronted the men with a shotgun and fired at Justin Benkov, 25, of Mastic and Fred Flock, 27, of Coram, police said. Mr. Robinette and Mr. Tarpey escaped.
None of the occupants of the house was injured and the dog is expected to recover.

Mr. Flock was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Benkov was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where he was listed in critical condition. Police determined he was wanted on a warrant for fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. It was not immediately clear which man had been holding the rifle or shot the dog.
Mr. Robinette was arrested a short while later and charged with first-degree burglary. Mr. Tarpey was arrested a week later and charged with first-degree burglary.

Mr. Robinette is being held on $1 million cash bail at the request of assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux. If convicted, Mr. Robinette faces a maximum of 10 to 25 years in prison. Mr. Tarpey was scheduled to appear in 1st District Court Wednesday.
Police said the burglars had targeted the house, though a police spokesperson did not release details.

Police had originally reported that only three men were involved in the burglary, but upon further investigation learned that Mr. Tarpey was an accomplice during the break-in.

Mr. Robinette was arrested last May in Riverhead Town when he stabbed a gang member after that man baited him into a confrontation on Main Street, Riverhead Police said at the time. He pleaded guilty to second-degree and third-degree assault on Dec. 7 and served time at the Suffolk County jail.

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