Thursday, December 18, 2003

D.A. BROWN: CAREER CRIMINAL SENTENCED TO 75 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR 1995 ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FOUR POLICE OFFICERS IN LONG ISLAND CITY

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced that a Queens man with a long criminal record has been sentenced to 75 years to life in prison for the attempted murder in 1995 of four police officers in a shootout in a Long Island City apartment.

District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant is a dangerous and violent criminal who deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

District Attorney Brown identified the defendant as Sean Pritchett, 35, of 35-06 21st Street in Long Island City, Queens who was found guilty on December 4, 2003 of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, Aggravated Assault Upon A Police Officer and Attempted Aggravated Assault Upon A Police Officer.

The District Attorney said that a jury of nine women and three men deliberated three days after a four-week trial in Queens Supreme Court and returned a verdict of guilty before Justice Roger N. Rosengarten who earlier today imposed a sentence of 75 years to life in prison. The sentence is to run consecutively with a 25 years to life sentence the defendant is already serving in prison for a 1998 Manslaughter in the First Degree conviction for a Manhattan homicide.

According to trial testimony, about 4:00 p.m. on December 16, 1995 defendant Pritchett was in his girlfriend’s apartment at 35-06 21st Street in Long Island City when New York City Police Department police officers entered the apartment to arrest the defendant on a warrant. The defendant hid in a bedroom closet and when police officers entered the bedroom to apprehend him he fired several shots from a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun that struck Sergeant James Hopkins in the shoulder, chest and stomach and Sergeant Darren Finn in the chest and right hand almost severing his ring finger. The defendant fired additional shots at Detectives Richard Briecke and Lawrence Marcario. The police returned fire and the defendant was struck multiple times and seriously wounded.

The District Attorney said that the first trial in the case in 1997 resulted in a conviction that was subsequently reversed on appeal.

District Attorney Brown said that the police went to the apartment to arrest the defendant as a parole violator and for the killing of a Manhattan bar bouncer the previous October. The defendant was subsequently convicted in May 1998 of Manslaughter in the First Degree for that homicide. The defendant had been previously convicted in 1992 of Attempted Manslaughter in the First Degree involving the death of a man during an armed robbery.

District Attorney Brown commended the bravery and professionalism of Sergeants Darren Finn and James Hopkins, both now retired, of the New York City Police Department’s PSA 9, and Detectives Lawrence Marcario, now retired, and Richard Briecke, of the NYPD Midtown South Detective Squad and said their performance of duty upheld the proud tradition of New York’s Finest.

Assistant District Attorneys Brad A. Leventhal, Deputy Chief, and Maryam A. Lipkansky of the District Attorney's Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney James W. Evangelou, Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Trials James Clark Quinn and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorneys John H. Larsen and Charles A. Testagrossa.