The son of an NYPD officer executed by a Black Liberation Army radical urged the killer’s release last month before parole officials voted for his freedom after 45 years.
Karmel Bell, son of convicted cop killer Herman Bell, talks with Waverly Jones Jr. to rally support for his father's parole with Councilman Charles Baron at the House of Lord Church.(THEODORAKIS, ANDREW/THEODORAKIS, ANDREW)
The decision to release Herman Bell, 70, in April followed a letter from Waverly Jones Jr., whose namesake dad was killed alongside his partner Joseph Piagentini in a May 21, 1971, ambush.
“The simple answer is (parole) would bring joy and peace as we have already forgiven Herman Bell publicly,” read the letter from Jones Jr.
“On the other hand, to deny him parole again would cause us pain, as we are reminded of the painful episode each time he appears before the board.”
NYPD officers from the 32nd Pct. in Harlem, Waverly Jones and Joesph Piagentini, were both killed in the line of duty in 1971 by Herman Bell.(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS / AP)
Bell was approved for parole on his eighth appearance before state officials — news that was greeted with good will by Officer Jones’ widow Mary.
“I’ve learned over the years that hate is a disease,” she told the Daily News from her home in Henrico, Va. “When you keep hate in your life, then your whole life is empty.
“I wasn't brought up to hate. I just feel that 45 years is a long time."
Bell and two co-defendants lured the two officers to a W. 159th St. housing project and opened fire, with Jones dying instantly after taking a bullet to the head fired from six inches behind him.
Piagentini was tortured and shot 22 times as he begged the ruthless shooters for his life. The young cop left behind a wife and two daughters who flatly opposed the decision to parole Bell.
"We've been betrayed,” said widow Diane Piagentini, accompanied Thursday by her girls Deborah and Mary. “Letting a cop killer out of prison is a betrayal to police officers putting their life on the line.
“It is a betrayal to the citizens of the United States, to let killers out among us to kill again.”
Bell’s co-defendant Anthony Bottom comes up for parole this June. The third suspect died of cancer while imprisoned in 2000.
Diane Piagentini (c.), the widow of Police Officer Joesph Piagentini, joins PBA President Patrick Lynch and board members of the PBA in condemning the parole board who granted the release of cop killer Herman Bell.(SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Mayor de Blasio, speaking at the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn, blasted the decision to put Bell back on the streets.
“I'm very troubled by it,” said de Blasio. “This was a premeditated killing of a police officer. That should be life in prison, period. There's nothing else to discuss.”
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch, at a news conference with the Piagentinis, called for the firing of the parole board members who voted for Bell’s freedom.
“If you killed a police officer, you don’t get out of prison,” said Lynch.
A file photo shows officers carrying the casket of Waverly Jones.
“For those who say that these cop-killers have been rehabilitated, we say that the deaths they caused are irreversible and that they have forfeited their right to live in a civilized society.”
Diane Piagentini referenced the cold-blooded killers’ savage treatment of her husband during his last minutes of life.
Bell “was devoid of any human compassion or empathy, and who killed their father and my husband as he pleaded for mercy,” the widow said.