Three Rockaway Cop-Killers Move Slowly Through Justice System
The trials of the three Rockaway men who took part in the murder of Police Officer Russell Timoshenko and the wounding of Police Officer Martin Yan during a routine car stop in Brooklyn last July are moving slowly through the state's justice system.
Robert Ellis was sentenced last week to 15 years after he was convicted of three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Dexter Bostic has been convicted of actually firing the gun that killed Timoshenko.
He will be sentenced in Brooklyn Supreme Court on February 23.
The case against Lee Woods has ended in a mistrial after one juror became too ill to continue deliberations.
His new trial is set for February 26.
The three Rockaway residents were in a sports utility vehicle, stolen from a Lawrence, Long Island car dealership, on a street in Brooklyn on July 9, 2007.
The trials of the three men focused on what happened before the shooting and where each of the men sat in the car. Ellis and Woods both claimed that they were driving the car and that the others were the shooters. It mattered who was driving, because prosecutors did not believe that the driver fired a shot that night.
Bostic's did not believe that he was the driver, and he was convicted of murder. What is clear is that the two cops pulled the SUV over and were shot as they approached the vehicle.
Officer Timoshenko was shot in the face and throat. He died soon after. Officer Yan, shot in the abdomen, was saved from serious injury by his ballistic vest.
Police swarmed Rockaway in the days following the murder.
Woods was quickly arrested at his Gateway Boulevard home.
Bostic and Ellis were captured a few days later, hiding in the Pennsylvania woods, after the Rockaway resident who drove them there and dropped them off tipped off police to their whereabouts.
Ellis' sentence to three concurrent 15-year terms for weapons possession angered many law enforcement officials as well as Timoshenko's parents, and prosecutors who asked for the three terms to be consecutive.
Court officials said, however, that the law does not allow for consecutive terms for actions arising from a single criminal act.
Police grabbed both Woods and Ellis in March of 2006 in connection with a stabbing outside of McDonald's restaurant in Far Rockaway. Ellis was also convicted of taking part in the gang rape of a fourteen-year-old girl at gunpoint in the early 1990s.
In court, Detective Martin Yan told the court that he has "survivor's guilt."
"Since that day, I have trouble speaking to Russell's family," he said. "I just don't know what to say or how to comfort them."