Decision Time For 3 Rockaway Cop Killers
The fact that three Rockaway men were the only ones in the car when shots erupted, killing a police officer and wounding another in what has been termed a "routine traffic stop" in Brooklyn on July 9, 2007 is not in dispute. The three have admitted to being in the car.
What is in dispute is the question of who was driving the car, and which of the other two fired the fatal shot that killed Police Officer Russell Timoshenko?
After four weeks of trial, the case against Robert Ellis wrapped up on Tuesday, with prosecutors arguing that there is "overwhelming proof of his guilt."
The jury hearing Ellis's case obviously
After ten hours of deliberation, his jury - there are three separate juries, one for each of the accused - found him guilty only of weapons possession, apparently convinced that he was the driver and not a shooter.
Scores of uniformed cops sat in stunned silence as the panel's foreman announced not guilty verdicts for Ellis, 35, on charges of aggravated murder and attempted murder.
Ellis was returned to his jail cell to await sentencing in January on the three counts of criminal possession of a weapon on which he was convicted. He faces up to fifteen years on each charge, a total of 45 years in prison.
One juror, who was not identified, told a television reporter that there was little forensic evidence that pointed to Ellis as one of the shooters.
The cases against the other two defendants, Dexter Bostic and Lee Woods, were completed on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and their juries were still deliberating their fate at press time.
The three locals, riding in a car stolen from a Lawrence, Long Island car dealership, have all pointed fingers at the others as the shooters, each arguing that he was driving the car and did not shoot at the two cops, Timoshenko, who was killed in the fusillade of bullets, and Police Officer Martin Yan, who was saved by his body armor. Woods was arrested at his Gateway Boulevard home the day after the fatal shooting.
The other two Rockaway men were found hiding in the woods in rural Pennsylvania by state troopers who had been tipped off by a local resident who dropped them off there after driving them from Rockaway.