New York Daily News

February 12, 2013


 



Cop killer Lamont Pride dodges life without parole: found not guilty of intentionally murdering police officer Peter Figoski, but guilty of second degree murder


Pride, who killed decorated officer Peter Figoski during a botched robbery Dec. 2011, faces 25 years to life. If found guilty of top count, he would have faced life without parole

By Oren Yaniv And Corky Siemaszko

Back to Pat Lynch article

Robert Figoski, brother of slain NYPD Police Officer Peter Figoski, at Brooklyn Supreme Court, where Lamont Pride was found guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of the decorated officer on Monday.
Ken Murray/New York Daily News

Robert Figoski, brother of slain NYPD Police Officer Peter Figoski, at Brooklyn Supreme Court, where Lamont Pride was found guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of the decorated officer on Monday.

The mother of slain Officer Peter Figoski covered her mouth in shock Monday as Lamont Pride was acquitted of intentionally murdering her son in a dingy Brooklyn basement stairwell - dodging a sentence of life without parole.

Pride, 28, was convicted on second-degree murder, burglary and aggravated manslaughter charges -- but not on the top count of first degree murder for intentionally killing a police officer.

Pride now faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 28.

     Lamont Pride was found guilty of second degree murder for the killing of decorated police officer Peter Figoski.

Jesse Ward/Jesse A. Ward

Lamont Pride was found guilty of second degree murder for the killing of decorated police officer Peter Figoski.

The NYPD officers who packed the courtroom gasped as the verdict was read, as Figoski's mother -- sitting with her husband and her four young granddaughters -- struggled to hide her emotions.

Pride could be eligible for parole in as few as 25 years, but Pat Lynch, head of the police officers' union, vowed to keep him behind bars.

"When parole time comes, there'll be another generation of police officers, a next generation of Figoskis standing at the victim's impact statement, and we will say our lives were changed forever because this clown killed our hero," said Lynch.

Slain cop Peter Figoski and daughters from Corinne Figoski's Facebook page.
Ken Murray/New York Daily News
Family of NYPD police officer Peter Figoski, walks out of the courtroom after attending the trial for the shooting death NYPD Police Officer Peter Figoski at Brooklyn Supreme Court.

The petty crook, part of a five-man crew that had gone to rob a pot dealer in Cypress Hills, claimed his semi-automatic pistol went off accidentally when he and Figoski collided in the darkness on Dec. 12, 2011.

Prosecutors insisted Figoski's death was no accident and put a member of Pride's crew, admitted "stickup guy" Ariel Tejada, on the stand.

Tejada testified that the cop killer "racked" his illegally-purchased pistol before heading into the basement. He agreed to testify against Pride and his cohorts in exchange for a reduced 15-year sentence.

Slain officer Peter Figoski's ex-wife Paullette Figoski (l.) helps lead one of his teenage daughters (c.) from a courtroom as she nearly faints during opening arguments for the trial of his alleged killers Thurs., Jan. 24, 2013, at Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Officer Peter Figoski, a decorated cop, was killed Dec. 12, 2011, after he was shot in the face responding to a burglary in Cypress Hills.

Defense attorney James Koenig all but conceded the lower charges against Pride - burglary and second-degree murder.

But Koenig argued Pride should be acquitted of intentional murder of a police officer because the shooting was an accident. The two-men, ten-women jury agreed.

"For Lamont, that was the best-case scenario. It's not a victory for anybody," said Koenig.

Slain officer Peter Figoski's ex-wife Paullette Figoski (l.) helps lead one of his teenage daughters (c.) from a courtroom as she nearly faints during opening arguments for the trial of his alleged killers Thurs., Jan. 24, 2013, at Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Ken Murray/New York Daily News

Marry Anne Figoski walks out of the courtroom after attending the trial for the shooting death her son NYPD Police Officer Peter Figoski.

Figoski, 47, of West Babylon, L.I., was a divorced father of four girls. During his stellar 22-year career, Figoski earned 12 medals and made more than 200 arrests.

Pride was convicted a few days after his alleged accomplice, accused getaway driver Michael Velez, took the stand for the first time.

Velez, 23, who also pleaded not guilty to felony murder, is on trial before a separate jury. He claims he had no idea Pride and the others were planning a robbery when he agreed to give them a lift to Cypress Gardens.

Slain Officer Peter Figoski's mother, Marry Anne Figoski (c.) gets a hug from NYPD Officer Frank Donalds, a K-9 unit officer who named his dog "Pete" in honor of Officer Figoski outside a courtroom Thurs., Jan. 24, 2013, at Brooklyn Supreme Court during opening arguments for the trial of Officer Figoski's alleged killers, Lamont Pride and Michael Velez.
Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

The fatal shooting left blood on Officer Peter Figoski’s badge, used as evidence during the trial.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin in Velez's trial Tuesday.

Two remaining suspects, Nelson Morales and Kevin Santos, will stand trial for murder after the Velez trial is over.

With Corky Siemaszko

oyaniv@nydailynews.com