Let Russell Carroll Die In Prison, Family Says
The niece of a police officer killed in Far Rockaway nearly 25 years ago has started a petition to keep the last of five men convicted of the murder behind bars until he dies – as the others have done already.
More than 4,700 signatures have been affixed to a petition on the website GoPetition.com, which was posted by Leann Doyle, the niece of slain Police Officer Robert Sorrentino. The signatures, she said, will be delivered to the New York State Division of Parole at convicted murderer Russell Carroll’s first parole hearing in February 2005.
“Russell Carroll is due for a parole hearing.…after serving the minimum part of his 25 to life sentence. My family, still grieving for the loss of my Uncle Bobby, does not want this man to go free,” Leann says on the website. Her mother, Edna Doyle (Sorrentino’s sister), was more candid. “I don’t want this one to get out. I want him to leave the way the others did,” she told The Wave.
Officer Sorrentino was shot in the dark schoolyard at St. Mary Star of the Sea by Marcel Marable, 51, – one of five armed men who had just robbed and pistol-whipped two-dozen patrons at a social club on April 10, 1980. He underwent 15 hours of emergency surgery but died two weeks later. The 35-year-old Long Island resident, who had seven years on the job, left a wife with three children from a previous marriage, his parents, three brothers and two sisters and their families.
“I wanted to do everything I possibly could for my uncle – for not being able to see him when I was growing up,” Leann, 26, told The Wave. Just 18-months-old when her uncle was gunned down, the aftermath of the shooting still lives in her earliest memories. There are scenes of her mother leaving to attend the 11–week murder trial of the five men who were quickly rounded up by Sorrentino’s colleagues in the NYPD. And there is one tender memory of playing with “Uncle Bobby.”
“I remember being very young, sitting at my grandmother’s table, playing with toys with my uncle,” Leann said. Through the years she has protected one of those toys, a little stuffed animal puppy, brown, with a black collar and floppy ears – a Christmas gift from her uncle. “I’ve always thought of him as my uncle’s and mine,” she said.
Now, Leann’s way of honoring her uncle and helping her mother who said she thinks of Sorrentino every day, is the petition and the encouragement she gives to those who want to write to the parole board directly. In the fight to keep Carroll, who is now 50, behind bars Sorrentino’s family has a strong ally – Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown’s office.
“In light of the exceptionally serious nature of the crime for which this defendant was convicted, and as a result of which the life of P.O. Robert Sorrentino was lost, the District Attorney strenuously opposes release consideration and recommends that this individual remain incarcerated for the maximum possible term,” wrote Charles A. Testagrossa, Executive Assistant District Attorney in a letter to the Ulster County Parole Office dated November 23, 2004.
Edna praised Testagrossa for his prosecution of the men and for keeping her informed of each development in the case and added, “He’s missed every single day, no matter how many years go by.”
The petition’s Internet address is www.GoPetition.com/online/5454.html.