New York Post
April 7, 2011

Not guilty plea in NYPD officer's death

By EMILY NGO. Special to Newsday

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Patrick E. McCarthy  
Josefa Villanueva, mother of accused cop killer George Villanueva pleads for her son outside courtroom after arraignment. George Villanueva was arraigned for the murder of officer Alain Schaberger.  

A Brooklyn man accused of fatally shoving a New York City police officer down a cement stairwell last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges.

George Villanueva, 42, stood silently in Brooklyn Criminal Court as he was arraigned in the slaying of Officer Alain Schaberger, 42, a U.S. Navy veteran.

Schaberger was responding to a domestic violence complaint on March 13 in Brooklyn and was attempting to handcuff Villanueva when Villanueva pushed him over a railing and off a stoop, prosecutors said. Schaberger fell nine feet and broke his neck, prosecutors said.

The officer's father, Paul Schaberger of East Islip, called his son a "good guy" who had much to look forward to in life, including a summer wedding. "I believe as this moves on, this individual will pay ... for the death of my son," he said outside the courtroom.

About 100 NYPD representatives, including uniformed and retired officers, filled the courthouse halls in a sea of blue support of their fallen colleague. Some said they had come on their days off or before their shifts began. One officer said he didn't know Schaberger personally, but nevertheless felt a bond with him.

"It's a close brotherhood," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association spokesman Albert O'Leary. "It's by the grace of God that it wasn't one of us."

"The friends and family of Officer Schaberger will be here for every court appearance to make sure justice is served," said PBA president Patrick Lynch.

The suspect's mother, Josefa Villanueva, fell to her knees outside the courtroom in an impassioned insistence of her son's innocence.

Villanueva is being held without bail. He has elected to appear at his next court date, June 17, by video conferencing, a decision Lynch slammed.

"He should be required to be in the courtroom and face the family," Lynch said.

Villanueva's attorney maintained his client's innocence Thursday. "He never shoved Officer Schaberger, as all the eyewitnesses on the scene indicate -- and there are a lot of them," Kleon Andreadis said.

In addition to murder charges in Schaberger's death and a previous robbery conviction, Villanueva was slapped last month with domestic violence charges involving his girlfriend in a 41-count indictment.