New York Daily News

September 26, 2009 

Parole postponed for cop killer Pablo Costello, who shot Officer David Guttenberg in 1978

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Frattini/News
  Pablo Costello has spent 30 years in prison for the murder of a police officer in 1978.

A cop killer was all set to walk out of prison next week — until the Daily News started asking questions.

Pablo Costello was recently granted parole after serving more than 30 years for the 1978 murder of Officer David Guttenberg, who was executed when he interrupted a robbery.

He was slated to go free in three days, but his release was delayed Friday when The News asked why the Parole Board didn't notify Guttenberg's widow, Barbara, or tell her she could file a victim impact statement.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch also intervened.

"It is our firm belief that, absent a death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole is the only just sentence for cop killers," Lynch said.

After the question was raised, state officials told Barbara Guttenberg she could give her statement by phone next Friday.

She said she plans to talk about her husband's character and the impact of his death.

"Dave was a very good guy," she said. "He would do anything for anybody.

"I was left with four children — a son without a father and three girls who got married without a father to walk them down the aisle."

The Parole Board — which had denied release to Costello in the past - will review the widow's statement before making a final decision.

Guttenberg, 49, had been a cop for 18 years when he entered the Dyker Auto Supplies shop on 86th St. in Brooklyn, looking for the owner of a double-parked car.

He stumbled onto a robbery in progress, was forced against a wall and was executed.

Guttenberg "never got his gun out of his holster," then-Police Commissioner Robert McGuire said at the time.

Costello and triggerman Luis Angel Torres were convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life — the maximum at the time. Torres died in prison in 1996.

Costello, 53, told parole officials he'll "always feel terrible and remorseful" about Guttenberg's death.

He plans to work as an AIDS prevention counselor and live with his wife and daughter, not far from where Guttenberg was slain, according to a source familiar with the case.