The fate of a New York parolee charged with killing a Long Island police officer and fatally shooting a motorist during an alleged carjacking is in the hands of a jury after the panel heard closing arguments Friday.
Darrell Fuller, 34, of Queens, faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, and Raymond Facey, 58, of Brooklyn. Fuller has pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery and weapons charges stemming from the October 2012 shooting. Jurors heard closing statements Friday in a trial that has lasted nearly two months.
Assistant District Attorney Mitch Benson told jurors there is overwhelming evidence that Fuller killed Lopez at point-blank range and then fatally shot Facey during a carjacking on the nearby Cross Island Parkway. “We’ve proved this case to you in so many ways – over and over,” Benson told the jury. “We have the evidence.”
Defense attorney Kenneth St. Bernard countered that prosecutors have failed to meet their burden of proof, insisting that none of the six eyewitnesses who picked Fuller out in a lineup saw either shooting. “There are a lot of holes in this case,” he said. “The fact is there’s not a witness to the shooting of Officer Lopez – not a single one.”
Prosecutors have argued that Fuller shot Lopez after the 8-year police veteran witnessed a hit-and-run crash Fuller was allegedly involved in. Lopez and his partner, Clarence Hudson, allegedly saw Fuller fleeing the crash – in Bayside, Queens – and pursued him in their emergency service truck before Fuller pulled of the Cross Island Parkway. They say he soon came to an abrupt halt, hopped out of his car, and shot the officer from about five feet away.
“He wanted to get away from the police and he killed Officer Lopez,” Benson said as Lopez’s family members, who were seated in the courtroom gallery, wiped tears from their eyes. Prosecutors allege Fuller then fled the shooting and approached Facey, who had pulled over on the side of the highway to speak with his daughter on the phone. The construction worker died at the scene after being shot twice in the face during the alleged carjacking.
Benson said jurors couldn’t disregard the fact Fuller’s driver’s license and wallet were found in his car, which was left where he allegedly carjacked Facey just moments after fleeing the police shooting. He also pointed to blood, DNA and video evidence in the case. “There is no question he had homicidal intent,” Benson said of Fuller.
During nearly three hours of deliberations Friday, jurors asked to review photographs and hear legal definitions. They also asked Nassau County Court Judge Jerald Carter to explain the difference between first-degree and second-degree murder relating to Facey’s death. The panel is expected to resume deliberations Monday morning.