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Updated: February 21, 2024, 6:53 PM

Widow of NYPD officer Anastasios Tsakos makes emotional speech at Jessica Beauvais' sentencing

By Anthony M. DeStefano and Nicole Fuller

 Long Island drunken driver convicted of killing NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos in a 2021 crash on the Long Island Expressway was sentenced to 27 years in prison Wednesday, after the officer's crying widow pleaded for justice in a poignant speech describing how she and their young children have been devastated. 

“You killed my husband, an innocent man, a good man, who did nothing to you. That’s on your conscience,” Irene Tsakos shouted while turning to face defendant Jessica Beauvais, 34, of Hempstead, in a Queens courtroom filled with family members and NYPD officers. “I have been consumed by this case and starving for justice for my husband and our family. I hope to get some solace after today. I know we will never get over our loss but I hope that God will help us put the pieces of our life together.”

Beauvais, who prosecutors said had a blood alcohol content of nearly twice the legal limit after the Queens crash, turned away as Tsakos, of East Northport, spoke. The widow, standing at a wooden lectern in the packed courtroom, alternately cried and expressed anger in an emotionally raw speech that lasted several minutes. 

“I will carry my husband with me forever,” said Tsakos, who, with her husband, shared two children who were 3 and 6 when their father was killed. She asked the judge to sentence the defendant to the maximum. 

A jury found Beauvais guilty of second-degree aggravated manslaughter on Oct. 31 in Queens State Supreme Court. Jurors also found her guilty of the charges of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. 

“You truly earned each and everyday you spend in prison,” said Tsakos. “I hope you take that time to reflect on your actions and feel remorse for all the devastation you have caused to my family and to yours as well.”

The widow continued: “While Jessica Beauvais was sobering up in a police station, our world was collapsing … I grieve my husband’s death but I also grieve the loss of the future we had planned and the dreams that will never materialize.”

Beauvais, her words barely audible, uttered: “I'm sorry.” 

Beauvais' defense attorney Jorge Santos, who was sitting beside her, stepped in and said on her behalf that Beauvais wanted to apologize to the Tsakos family and the NYPD and that she regretted her actions.

Tsakos also addressed a video of Beauvais appearing on a podcast in a Brooklyn studio hours before the crash, during which she consumed wine and marijuana, and made negative comments about the police. 

“She made a podcast hours before killing my husband for the world to hear,” said Tsakos. “I heard it too. I want to say that you cannot think, speak and spread hate out into the word and expect good things to happen to you. You cannot wish harm on people and influence others to do harm and expect good things in return.”

Assistant District Attorney Gregory Laska Jr. wanted to play for the jury about seven minutes of the video, during which Beauvais used expletives and other disparaging terms to describe the police. 

Beauvais' defense attorney said in a presentence memorandum that the podcast video, taken as a whole, is a call for racial justice and diversity.

Judge Michael Aloise ruled the podcast video inadmissible, but said Wednesday that Beauvais publicly and privately “vilified the police.”

Aloise, in handing down his sentence, said that there was never a case so “vile and overwhelming.”

Aloise, addressing the defense request for mercy in sentencing, said the grand jury gave Beauvais that when she wasn't charged with depraved indifference homicide, which would have carried a maximum of life in prison. 

Aloise sentenced Beauvais to 20 years in prison on the top charge of aggravated manslaughter and an additional 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison, to run consecutively to the 20 year sentence, for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Aloise also sentenced her to 2 1/3 to 7 years on the manslaughter charge, but that sentence is to run concurrently.

During Beauvais' trial, Irene Tsakos testified in a voice at times barely audible how she was awakened by two officers early on the morning of April 27, 2021, and rushed to NewYork Presbyterian-Queens, where she was told her husband, a 43-year-old highway officer, had been killed.

“I put my head against him and I called him. I called for him. I prayed to God to make me wake up from this nightmare I was living,” she said from the stand, weeping.

Santos and fellow defense attorney Peter Laumann, both of the Legal Aid Society, had argued during the trial that Beauvais didn’t see Tsakos just before her Volkswagen sedan plowed into him.

Santos gave a summation to the jury in which he conceded that Beauvais was guilty of the charges of vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Santos then told the panel that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge of aggravated manslaughter because Beauvais did not see Tsakos standing against his police vehicle just before impact. Santos said that Tsakos and his partner didn’t use proper procedure by going without reflective vests and failing to light highway flares to augment traffic cones set up before the exit.

In closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury 131 other cars saw the police that morning, obeyed the roadblock and got off at the exit service road before Beauvais sped into Tsakos and sent him catapulting 171 feet down the expressway.

Those other drivers, they said, “knew to get off the highway.”

Tsakos was promoted posthumously to the rank of detective after his funeral in May 2021.

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry, in remarks outside the courthouse where he stood flanked by numerous NYPD highway cops, said the day was not one for rejoicing.

“Today is justice, but it is not a day of joy or closure for this family, who has to deal with pain of his loss every single day,” said Hendry. “This is heartbreaking for this family. We are going to for this family, for anything they might need, at any time and we will always honor our hero brother, Anastasios Tsakos in the future.”