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Alleged Robbery Mastermind On Trial In NYPD Officer’s Murder

Nelson Morales Allegedly Planned Robbery Of Drug Dealer
Peter Figoski (credit: CBS 2)

Peter Figoski (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jurors heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Nelson Morales, a suspect setting the wheels in motion for a robbery that ended with the fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski.

As 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported, police officers crowded the courtroom for the trial of Morales, 28, who not fire the fatal shot, but allegedly planned the armed robbery of a marijuana dealer who lived in his uncle’s basement.

He is charged with murder.

Figoski responded to a 911 call as part of a backup team, and was shot in the face when he came down the narrow basement steps.

Prosecutors told jurors that even in the chaos, Morales was one cool customer, claiming he was a victim of the crime.

The gunman who killed Figoski, Lamont Pride, was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison back in February.

Prosecutors said Pride and four others plotted to rob the drug dealer who lived in the 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 alleged getaway driver, Michael Velez, was found not guilty of first- and second-degree burglary.

Another man, Kevin Santos, 32, is also charged in the murder and was set to go on trial this week. A fifth suspect, Ariel Tejada, testified against the others as part of a plea deal that gave him a lesser sentence.

More than 15,000 mourners turned out at Figoski’s funeral in December. Mayor Michael Bloomberg promoted Figoski to detective posthumously.

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.

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