Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Timoshenko Killer Trial


As posted on this Blog here and here on 15 July 2007, NYPD Detectives Russel Timoshenko and Herman Yan were shot, Timoshenko fatally, while arresting three suspects driving a stolen BMW. Now, as reported here, here here and here, the trial is now underway for the suspects.

Of course I share the sentiments of the other law-abiding citizenry who will be following the trial. But this Blog is not intended to be a "me, too" screed, so this posting will zero in on some issues which are not being hyped in the mainstream media and mainstream blogosphere. In no particular order:


A. The suspects are now taking conflicting positions against one another. Accordingtly, three juries have been seated, one for each suspect. This is a wise economy of judicial resources, provided that Judge Lott conducts the trial in such a way as to avoid reversible error. Even if each of the suspects were tried separately, it seems that 90+ % of the evidence would be common to all. But Judge Lott has been on the bench since 1991, and, before that, had ample occasion to sit at both the Defense and Prosecution tables in criminal trials. There is every reason to expect that His Honor will conduct the trial in a manner that should withstand the inevitable appeals that will follow.


B. The prior posts refer to "Officer" Timoshenko and "Officer" Yan. The late Russel Timoshenko was posthumously promoted to Detective, and Herman Yan, still serving on the force, was similarly promoted following the incident. Such promotions are common, and, all else being equal, are fitting and appropriate ways to recognize heroism in the line of duty. But, as a New York State taxpayer (fiscally speaking, the suburban and upstate counties subsidize New York City), I will note, against all political correctness, that promotions of police officers and firefighters who were injured or killed in the line of duty also serve to increase pension and/or death benefits paid out from the public fisc. Without in any way detracting from the significant heroism displayed by the two, I did think about this taboo aspect of their respective promotions.

But as information surfaced regarding Russel Timoshenko's personal life before the incident which claimed his life, my reservations dissipated. He, in all likelihood, would have achieved promotion to Detective had he continued to serve.

Amidst the public hype on Detective Timoshenko, Detective Yan cut a very low profile in the media, no doubt due in part to his proactive efforts to stay out of print. Accordingly, I continued to wonder about Detective Yan's promotion to that rank. But Detective Yan once again made the news when he testified at the trial, and, having read about his comporture as a witness, I now have no doubt that he fully merits his rank, and would not be surprised to see him merit further promotions in the future.

Accordingly, this Post (and any future ones on the subject) will refer to the two officers by their respective ranks of "Detective" (unless, of course, Detective Yan advances to Sergeant).

This does not in any way invalidate my concern for the possible misuse of promotions to game the pension system. Public sympathies are not a valid excuse for fiscal irresponsibility. The public finances must be responsibly managed. And, at the same time, police officers, firefighters, and, for that matter, all other public employees, must be responsibly rewarded for individual performance.


C. According to the prosecutor, ADA Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi, the three did not wish to get caught in a stolen car filled with illegal guns, particularly Dexter Bostic, the one accused of actually firing the shots that killed Detective Timoshenko. The three wished to avoid going back to prison.

It would seem to me that if one desires to stay out of prison, then one does not ride in a stolen car (particularly a high-profile stolen car such as a BMW), and one does not carry multiple illegal weapons. And firing a weapon at a police officer, as I understand it, is the diametric antithesis of behavior calculated to keep oneself out of prison.


D. Other heroes in this affair are Detective Timoshenko's parents, who are attending the trial and staring down the three suspects. This must be exceedingly difficult for them, but it needs to be done, and they are doing it.


E. The three suspects, it seems, have no regard for the lives of their fellow human beings, and had they not been apprehended, they, in all likelihood, would have continued in their lethal practices. Unfortunately, the capture operation temporarily cost society the services of Detective Yan as he recovered from his significant injuries, and permanently cost society the diligent services of Detective Timoshenko.

My second 15 July 2007 posting stated: "The alleged driver, Lee Woods, was captured very shortly after the shooting. He would be the logical guy with whom to work for a plea bargain in exchange for testimony."

While one really cannot tell for sure, it doesn't seem like Woods has gotten into any plea deal at this point. It now seems that ADA Nicolazzi is going for full convictions on accomplice liability for all three, probably on account of such overwhelming evidence that Woods was more than a clueless chauffeur. If so, then maybe he, too, will spend the remainder of his life behind bars (few would bet that Dexter Bostic or Robert Ellis will ever find freedom in their lifetimes). If Nicolazzi gets the hat trick on all of them, then that will bring Detective Russel Timoshenko as close as he can get to a peaceful repose.

Bostic, Woods and Ellis are headed for the Big House. I am concerned for the Corrections Officers who will be watching over them.

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