New York Daily News

Tear my son's killers apart

Brokenhearted father cries out for vengeance

July 17, 2007

BY VERONIKA BELENKAYA, NANCIE L. KATZ and BILL HUTCHINSON DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Click for slideshowRobbed of his only child by an alleged trio of gunslinging ex-cons, the heartbroken father of slain rookie cop Russel Timoshenko had one wish yesterday for the killers:

"They should be torn apart," Leonid Timoshenko, his eyes still red from days of grieving, told the Daily News.

The first public words uttered by the Russian immigrant school bus driver echoed those he and his wife, Tatyana, have shared behind the closed doors of their Staten Island home. Their cries for vengeance were only bolstered by the sight of the accused murderers up close.

"We looked at them. They didn't even look at us," he said after seeing his son's three alleged killers in court yesterday. "We saw their families passing by us, and they looked at us like it was our fault."

Since the death of her son Saturday - five days after he was shot in the face two times at point-blank range - Tatyana Timoshenko has slept in his bedroom, racked by sorrow and anger, relatives said. She has privately hoped for "five minutes alone in a room" with the suspects.

"I don't need a gun. I don't need a knife," the mother has told her son's 71st Precinct colleagues. "I'll tear them to pieces alive."

Standing in the doorway of her home, the morning sun shining on her stoop piled with mourners' bouquets and teddy bears, Tatyana Timoshenko told The News, "We're hurting now."

Hours later, her pain was slightly eased by seeing the suspects in handcuffs, a sea of NYPD blue behind them, spilling out of the courtroom into the hall.

Dexter Bostick, Robert Ellis and Lee Woods stood shackled in Brooklyn Criminal Court, their faces betraying no emotion through the intense, 10-minute hearing.

Timoshenko and his partner, Herman Yan, were fired upon without warning during a traffic stop in Brooklyn early on the morning of July 9. Timoshenko's death on Saturday prompted yesterday's hearing to boost the charges to the maximum allowed under state law.

"Each is charged with first-degree murder for their collective role in this outright execution," prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi told Judge Richard Allman.

Woods, 29, stood just feet from Timoshenko's parents as a detective used a cotton swab to collect saliva from his mouth to match against DNA evidence found in the stolen car the suspects were in when stopped on a darkened street in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.

As Woods and his co-defendants, who face life in prison without parole if convicted, were being led away, the courtroom erupted in applause. Timoshenko's parents joined in.

"That's all we could do," the father said.

One female cop taunted the suspects, calling them "F---ing pieces of garbage." Outside, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, called them "miscreants" and "subhuman," repeating calls for a federal prosecution that could produce a death penalty verdict.

Shortly after the court hearing, a spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said the feds have no plans to intervene. "This case will be prosecuted by the Brooklyn district attorney's office," he said.

Nicolazzi said a grand jury had been empaneled and her prosecution team is swiftly moving to present evidence.

While Bostick, 34, is suspected of shooting Timoshenko, his co-defendants accused one another of firing the shots that wounded Yan, 26.

An FDNY firefighter who used to work with Bostick at Five Towns Mitsubishi in Inwood, L.I., said Bostick called him last week about 24 hours after the shootings to express his innocence.

"He woke me up. He said, 'I didn't do it,'" said Ronald Shields, 33, who works as a car salesman at Nemet Hyundai in Jamaica, Queens.

"Bostick said he was not involved in the shooting, that he was driving the car and he didn't know they had guns and they would start shooting everybody."

Shields said he advised Bostick to turn himself in. The conversation, which lasted about two minutes, then ended.

As Timoshenko's family prepares for the first of two wakes today and tomorrow at the I.J. Morris funeral home in Brooklyn, the slain officer's aunts focused on the "bright light" they lost.

"I'm proud of my boy," Inna Apanasyuk, 46, who is also Timoshenko's godmother, told The News. "I wanted to celebrate his wedding, not a funeral."

Aunt Alla Grutman's eyes began to water as she looked at photos of her nephew as a boy, fresh from Belarus, excited about being in America.

"They're just animals," Grutman said of the suspects, her voice filling with anger. "I hope they know no peace."

The wake for Timoshenko will be held from 4p.m. to 9 p.m. today and tomorrow at the I.J. Morris, 1895 Flatbush Ave. A funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, also at the funeral home, followed by burial at Moravian Cemetery on Staten Island.

People wanting to help the family can donate to the Timoshenko Memorial Fund, Account No. 747518017, at any Chase Bank.

vbelenkaya@nydailynews.com

With Alison Gendar, Richard Weir and Mike Jaccarino