A New York City parolee has been convicted of first-degree murder after a jury unanimously found him guilty Monday of killing a Nassau County police officer during a traffic stop and then fatally shooting a motorist, just moments later in an alleged carjacking.
Darrell Fuller, 34, of Queens, showed no emotion Monday as jurors returned guilty verdicts – one after another – on first-degree and second-degree murder, robbery and weapons charges relating to the October 2012 shooting that slayed Nassau County Police Officer Arthur Lopez and the 58-year-old motorist, Raymond Facey.
The verdict followed about four hours of deliberations after a trial that lasted nearly two months – with close to 80 witnesses testifying.
“It’s been a long ride,” Lopez’s sister, Charo Ramos, said after the verdict. “At the beginning of this year, I said my New Year’s resolution was to put a killer behind bars, and man we did.”
Raymond Facey’s widow, June Facey, said she was satisfied with the verdict, but said she will never feel justice for her husband. “The only justice I would have is if he left my husband alone,” she said. “I will never have justice – never ever. I will have to go home without my husband. I have to know he’s not coming back.”
Prosecutors argued Fuller shot Lopez after the 29-year-old officer witnessed the parolee fleeing a car crash in Queens. Lopez and his partner, Clarence Hudson, were on patrol near the Nassau-Queens border when they saw Fuller’s sedan collide with a minivan, authorities said. Fuller allegedly took off from the crash and the officers pursued him along the Cross Island Parkway.
The officers followed Fuller, whose car had at least one flat tire and the rear bumper dragging along the ground, until Fuller pulled off and made a turn onto a side street. Fuller came to an abrupt halt and jumped out of his car when Lopez approached him with a stun gun drawn before Fuller pulled out a 9mm handgun and shot the officer from about five feet away.
Authorities have said Facey had pulled his car onto the shoulder of the Cross Island Parway and was on the phone with his daughter when Fuller approached him, shot him, and stole the vehicle. He then allegedly fled to a nearby day care center and waited for a friend to pick him up, prosecutors said. Fuller was apprehended hours later after having his friend shoot him in the arm and leg in an attempt to appear as another victim of a deranged gunman, Benson told jurors during the trial.
“We can’t bring daddy back, but this is such a blessing that we know who did it,” Facey’s daughter, Abbigail Jones, 23, said. “We know he’s guilty and we can go home [and be] rest assured that he’s not going to hurt anyone else.”
Fuller’s defense attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard, had argued prosecutors failed to prove their case and said there were no eyewitnesses who saw either shooting. He said the case had “a lot of inconsistencies.”
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice disagreed, saying there was “a mountain of evidence” to prove Fuller’s guilt.
“This is a day no family should ever have to endure,” she said, adding that the shooting is “a stark reminder of the danger every single man and woman who wears a police uniform goes through every day. “
Juror Calogero Troia, 36, of West Hempstead, said the 12-member panel was “mostly on the same page” during deliberations.
He said he knew Fuller was guilty when his vehicle was seen in a cell phone video taken by an off-duty police officer who had recorded the pursuit.
“His vehicle was there, he was seen there … the eyewitnesses were right there.”