June 28, 2002

Wife, Daughter: No Parole For Killer

By Daniel Barrick STAFF WRITER

Joseph Piagentini
Waverly Jones

The widow and the daughter of a slain police officer urged a parole board in Manhattan Friday afternoon to deny parole to one of his killers.

Diane Piagentini, widow of Joseph Piagentini, “tried to put a face” to her husband’s name as she delivered her victim’s impact statement to the board.

“He was a good man and a good cop,” Piagentini said of her husband. “He had a family and a life and a future.”

Piagentini and his partner Waverly Jones were shot and killed by three members of the Black Liberation Army outside a Harlem housing project in 1971.

Anthony Bottom (known now as Jalil Abdul Muntaqim), Herman Bell and Albert Washington were convicted of the murders. Bottom, who was sentenced to 25 years to life in 1975, will stand before the parole board at the end of July.

Diane Piagentini described her speech to the board, which was closed to the public, as “difficult,” saying that recalling her husband’s memory “brings it all home.”

(Newsday Photo/ Viorel Florescu)
Diane Piagentini, wife of Joseph Piagentini, a police officer who was shot in 1971, holds pictures of the three man convicted in killing her husband and his partner, officer Waverly Jones.One of them, Anthony Bottom will ask for parole on Friday.

“It’s one thing writing it out,” she said of her hourlong statement. “It’s another thing altogether to speak it aloud.”

Both she and her daughter Mary wore replicas of Piagentini’s badge.

Chandra Jones, daughter of Waverly Jones, was unable to attend the hearing due to a death in the family.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, was denied permission to make a statement to the board on behalf of the police department.

But he sat alongside the Piagentinis Friday afternoon as they spoke to the board.

Bottom’s parole request has generated much controversy in the past week. City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) introduced a resolution Wednesday calling for the release of “political prisoners” such as Bottom.

Though he offered sympathy to the Piagentini and Jones families yesterday, Barron said Bottom’s release would “help close a door on an ugly chapter in America’s history.”

But Dianne Piagentini scoffed at that notion.

“To call these men political prisoners is outrageous,” she said. “They are assassins and terrorists.”

Washington died in prison last year and Bell, who was convicted of other crimes, is eligible for parole in 2004.