By Frank Eltman
MINEOLA, N.Y. — A New York City parolee was convicted Monday of a murderous rampage that included shooting a suburban police officer at point-blank range during a traffic stop, fleeing and then executing a carjacking victim moments later.
Hours afterward, the gunman asked a friend to shoot him in the arm and leg as a ruse to make it appear as if he had been a victim of the initial violence.
The gunman, Darrell Fuller, 34, showed little reaction when a Long Island jury returned seven guilty verdicts on charges including first- and second-degree murder, robbery and weapons charges stemming from the October 2012 killing of Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez and carjacking victim Raymond Facey near Belmont Park racetrack on Long Island.
Several members of the jury wiped away tears as a court clerk confirmed their guilty verdicts.
"Even this verdict doesn't do anything to bring back Artie Lopez and Mr. Facey," Police Benevolent Association President James Carver told reporters outside the courthouse following the verdict. Dozens of officers joined the victim's families during the seven-week trial.
"This was a police officer that was a building block of this police department, the future of this police department," Carver said. "That is what his life was all about was helping the public."
Facey's 23-year-old daughters also spoke after the verdict. Abbigail Facey said, "We can't bring Daddy back, but this is such a blessing that we know who did it. We know we got the right person."
Prosecutors said Lopez and his partner, Clarence Hudson, were patrolling near the border of Nassau and Queens counties when they saw a car driven by Fuller collide with a van. Fuller, who prosecutors said feared being stopped with a loaded weapon in his car while on parole, drove away and the officers pursued him onto a highway.
Fuller took the next exit, apparently driving with at least one flat tire. Lopez approached Fuller, who by that time was out of his car. The officer had a stun gun in his hand when Fuller opened fire once from about 5 feet away, wounding the officer in the chest. The 29-year-old officer, who was not wearing bulletproof vest, fell backward and collapsed; he was declared dead at a hospital.
Prosecutors said that moments later, Fuller shot to death Facey, who was stopped along the parkway making a cellphone call to his daughter, and stole his car.
Fuller fled into Queens but was arrested hours later. Authorities said he first went to a nearby day care center, where he called a friend to pick him up. That friend later shot Fuller in an attempt to make it appear that Fuller had been a victim of the carnage, prosecutors said.
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 and was released in 2011, prosecutors said.
The verdict came after a seven-week trial; testimony was limited to three days a week because Fuller needed the other two days to receive kidney dialysis treatments, officials said.
Fuller's court-appointed attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard, didn't call any defense witnesses. He had argued during closing arguments last week that no witness actually saw Fuller firing the shots that killed either Lopez or Facey.
Nassau County Court Judge Jerald Carter scheduled sentencing for Sept. 5.
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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press