NEW YORK—A New York City jury on Monday convicted a Brooklyn man of second-degree murder in the killing of a NYPD police officer during a failed attempt to rob a drug dealer.
Lamont Pride, 25, was found guilty of second-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and burglary, but was acquitted of the more serious charge of intentionally murdering Officer Peter Figoski.
“The killer brought a gun to a robbery, racked a round into its chamber to be certain that he could fire it at any point during the crime and he used it to kill a man who was a great cop and great father in order to escape,” Patrick Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told The Associated Press.
“If that doesn’t demonstrate intent, then it is hard to imagine what does,” Lynch continued. He said Figoski’s family was disappointed with jury’s decision.
Pride faces a 25-year-to-life prison sentence, but if he were convicted of the more serious murder charge, he would have faced life imprisonment without parole.
“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, according to CBS New York.
Prosecutors alleged that Pride and four other individuals were attempting to rob a drug dealer in Brooklyn, but they were intercepted by police officers. They alleged that when trying to escape police capture, Pride shot Figoski point blank in the head.
However, defense attorney James Koenig said that Pride did not intend to shoot the officer. “This is not aggravated murder,” he told the jury, reported WABC. “I’m confident you will return the correct verdict.”
Koenig described the verdict on Monday as “the best-case scenario” for Pride, adding that it “was not a victory for anyone. It’s a tragedy all around,” AP reported.
In videotaped statements to police, Pride said he had the gun in his hand while trying to escape, but tripped on the stairs while trying to leave, causing the gun to go off. The shot then hit Figoski in the face.
“I never took the hand off the trigger,” he said in the statement. “That was my mistake.”
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