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Guilty verdict reached in NYPD officer's shooting death

February 11, 2013 2:16:58 PM PST
The jury reached a verdict Monday in trial of a man accused of shooting a New York City police officer during a botched robbery.

Lamont Pride was found guilty of second-degree murder, second-degree aggravated manslaughter and burglary in the death of officer Peter Figoski. But he was found not guilty of the top count of aggravated first-degree murder, meaning jurors did not believe he inentionally fired the shots that killed Figoski.

Jurors appear to have agreed with Pride's attorney, James Koenig, who said in closing arguments that his client did not intent to shoot Figoski.

Koenig said Pride's initial statements to detectives showed he did not think anyone had been shot, but conceded that Pride had his finger on the trigger when he encountered Figoski. Koenig asked jurors to acquit Pride of the top charge of murder in the first degree, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison without parole. He did not ask jurors to acquit Pride on the lower counts, including burglary and robbery.

"This is not aggravated murder," he said. "I'm confident you will return the correct verdict."

On Friday, the jury sent out a note asking, "Does [first-degree aggravated manslaughter] apply if the person intended to cause serious injury and the person dies, or does this language only apply if the person lives?" indicating some jurors were considering the lesser charge.

PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said, "We are angry that the jury did not find Peter Figoski's killer guilty of the top count of aggravated murder. 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. If that doesn't demonstrate intent, then it hard to imagine what does. We are sickened by the fact that the jury fell for this killer's lies. I pledge to you and the Figoski family here today that this union will do everything within its power to ensure that Peter's murderer never walks the streets a free man again."

Prosecutors say Pride and four others plotted to rob a drug dealer who lived in a shabby basement apartment in Brooklyn, but they were interrupted by police.

Authorities say that as Pride tried to escape, he came face-to-face with Figoski. The officer was struck in the head and died at a hospital.

The case against another suspect, Michael Velez, is still being heard by a second jury. Two others will be tried later.

A fifth suspect, Ariel Tejada, testified against the others.

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