MINEOLA - June 9, 2014
A New York City ex-convict went on trial Monday in a suburban courtroom in the killing of a police officer and a second man shot during what authorities said was a carjacking by the defendant while fleeing the scene of the first shooting.
Darrell Fuller, 34, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, robbery and weapons charges stemming from the October 2012 killing of Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez and the carjacking victim. He faces a sentence of life without parole if convicted of the murder charges.
The start of the trial was delayed Monday morning after County Court Judge Jerald Carter announced that Fuller's defense attorney had made a motion to move the trial to another jurisdiction because of publicity surrounding the case. The motion was denied by an appellate court late Monday morning and the start of the trial was rescheduled for midafternoon.
Ahead of the trial, Fuller's court-appointed attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard, did not return telephone messages seeking comment, and a spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice said she would not comment.
Police said Fuller was arrested hours after he fatally shot Lopez, who suspected Fuller had been involved in a hit-and-run accident.
Fuller is suspected of fleeing that shooting and then killing 52-year-old Raymond Facey while carjacking his vehicle. Facey was stopped on the side of the Cross Island Parkway, speaking with his daughter on a cellphone, when he was attacked.
Fuller served four years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder in 2005, authorities said. He was jailed again in 2010 after violating his parole on a drug arrest but was released in May 2011 because there was insufficient evidence to support a stiffer sentence, prosecutors said.
Nassau Police Benevolent Association President James Carver said he expected the trial could last two months or longer because of a limited trial schedule to accommodate Fuller's need for kidney dialysis.
"It's going to be a very emotional trial as they lay out what exactly happened," Carver said.
Carver groused Monday morning that the motion to change venues was an eleventh-hour delay tactic.
Facey's widow, Juniepa Facey, said she had no anger toward Fuller but that she didn't know why. "There's no justice for my husband or me or the rest of the family," she said. "The only justice: if he had left my husband alone."
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Murder Trial of Nassau Police Officer Arthur Lopez Begins
MINEOLA - June 9, 2014