Jurors Find Lamont Pride Guilty Of Murder In Killing Of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski
Pride was found not guilty of the most serious charge, which alleged he intentionally killed Figoski. He was also convicted of aggravated manslaughter and first degree burglary.
Pride faces 25 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced later this month.
Figoski’s family and fellow officers, who packed the courtroom every day, were shocked, angry and disappointed with the verdict because Pride was found not guilty of aggravated murder, WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell reported.
“To say the least, we’re disappointed and angry,” said Pat Lynch, President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
“The murder of a police officer is a crime on a monstrous scale, worse than other murders, because society invests in police officers the authority to enforce the law on their behalf. When a police officer is murdered, society at-large is struck a mortal blow. We had hoped that the charge of aggravated murder would have prevailed,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
If Pride had been found guilty of that charge, he would have been guaranteed a sentence of life without parole.
After the verdict was handed down, Lynch was incensed as he spoke to reporters, Cornell reported.
“There is a moral pact with police officers that if you kill a New York City police officer, you will put them away forever. Practically speaking, that may well happen. This jury should not have settled for that,” Lynch said.
Prosecutors said Pride and four others plotted to rob a drug dealer who lived in a basement apartment in Brooklyn, but were interrupted by police.
As Pride tried to escape, he came face-to-face with Figoski, who was shot once in the head. Figoski died later at a hospital.
Prosecutors said Figoski, who was undercover, never even drew his own weapon. Pride was caught by Figoski’s partner.
Pride’s defense team never contested his gun killed the responding officer, but argued it was an accident.
“He’s glad the jury understood that he did not intend to kill Officer Figoski. He did not and that’s the way the jury sees it. It’s a tragedy all the way around,” said Pride’s defense attorney, James Koenig.
Jurors were shown a videotape in which Pride claimed he was smoking marijuana in the apartment that was robbed and tried to hide behind a boiler. Pride said on the video that he was trying to escape when he was confronted by a hooded man with a gun — Figoski — and that during a struggle between the two the gun went off.
Pride’s alleged getaway driver, Michael Velez, is currently facing trial. Velez pleaded not guilty.
Two other suspects in the case have pleaded not guilty. They have yet to stand trial.
A fifth suspect, Ariel Tejada, testified against the others as part of a plea deal that gave him a lesser sentence.
Figoski is survived by daughters Christine, Caitlyn, Caroline and Corrine. More than $600,000 was raised for a scholarship fund to help pay for their education.