2012-09-28 / Top Stories

After 23 Years, Once More Up For Parole

By Howard Schwach

A Rockaway man who robbed an Edgemere social club in April of 1980, a robbery that officials say led directly to the shooting death of Police Officer Robert Sorrentino, is coming up for parole once again in December.

And, once again, family members of the slain police officer say that they want the killer to die in prison, while his family says that enough is enough and he should be set free.

Russell Carroll, the man involved in the robbery along with three accomplices, and who was convicted of murder in the second degree for the murder of the police officer, was turned down for parole in November of 2010, the last time he appeared before the board. Prisoners are eligible for parole hearings every two years. He was also denied parole in 2008, 2006 and 2005, when prisoners could get a hearing each year and when he was first eligible for parole.

Carroll, who has been Prisoner 82- A-0199 since he was found guilty on December 10, 1981 of second degree murder of a police officer and a slew of other crimes, including nearly 100 counts of robbery, remains in his cell at the Eastern Correctional Facility in Ulster County awaiting his December hearing

Sorrentino’s sister told The Wave this week that she will speak out at Carroll’s parole hearing as long as she is alive. “I want [Carroll] to remain in jail until they carry him out, because he killed my brother. I want him to get out the way the others did,” said Edna Doyle, 64, now her brother’s spokesperson. “I was there for the last three [hearings] and I will be there for the next one. I will be there as many times as necessary to see that he stays in prison.”

On April 10, 1980, Carroll and three other men robbed approximately two dozen patrons in an illegal gambling and drinking club on Beach 43 Street in Edgemere. Published reports in The Wave at the time say that some of those who were robbed followed the four men as they fled the scene and subsequently tipped off police as to the location of the men. Several police officers who responded to the call saw the foursome and chased them to St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church on Beach 19 Street and Central Avenue, where the men left the car and fled police on foot. Police Officers Sorrentino and Jack Dowd, partners in one of the radio cars that responded, chased two of the men, who ran off in separate directions. Sorrentino followed one of the defendants, later identified as Marcel Marable, into the dark churchyard. Marable shot the cop five times, officials said. He was captured a few hours later. Sorrentino underwent 15 hours of emergency surgery at a local hospital, but died two weeks later as a result of his wounds. At the time of the shooting, Marable was free on parole after serving 15 years for bank robbery. Carroll was being sought by police after skipping bail following a 1977 robbery. All four of the defendants were charged with murder and were convicted under a state law that says that any person involved in a murder is as guilty as the person who actually does the shooting. They were also found guilty of numerous charges of robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.

Carroll is the only one still alive. The other three men died in custody. Many locals joined Sorrentino’s family in urging the parole board to turn down Carroll’s request.

Doyle says that Carroll told the parole board four years ago that he, “no longer wanted to live like he was, that he was getting older and it was becoming very stressful.” Doyle pointed to the fact that at least he was alive and her brother was not. Doyle, who is angry that Carroll would even be eligible for parole, said that he should remain in prison based not only on the murder of her brother, but on the other serious charges of which he was convicted.

Carroll’s family members, however, see the hearing differently.

His daughter, Treisha Cook, thinks that Russell Carroll has served in prison long enough for his participation in the Far Rockaway robbery that led to the shooting death of Sorrentino.

“I don’t believe that Carroll was right for all the bad things he did, being part of the robbery and all,” Cook, said.

“He did not kill the cop, and the real killer is where he needs to be. I believe that he has served enough time for what he did and he is paying for somebody else’s wrong doing,” Cook said. “He should go free this time. He has a family and friends that miss him, too. He had no plans to kill a cop that night.”

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