Video: Accused cop killer changes story twice
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The gunman who prosecutors said shot and killed veteran New York City police officer Peter Figoski gave three conflicting videotaped versions of the fatal encounter in the East New York section of Brooklyn.
The explanations of how the gun ended up in Lamont Pride's hand and how it went off, shooting Figoski in the face, differed sharply. In fact, they said, each successive version of how he got hold of the firearm implicated him further.
The videos were played Thursday in State Supreme Court before Judge Alan Marrus in Pride's trial. Pride is charged with killing Figoski, of West Babylon, during the botched robbery of a drug dealer at 25 Pine St. in Brooklyn on Dec. 12, 2011.
Pride, 28, of North Carolina, is charged as his shooter, and Michael Velez, 22, of Queens, as the getaway driver.
In the first videotaped statement from Pride, who was questioned at the 75th Precinct later that morning, shortly after 10 a.m., Pride says he wrested the gun used to kill Figoski from someone who entered the apartment as Pride and an accomplice were trying to rob the drug dealer who lived there.
In the second clip, recorded about 5 p.m., he says his partner, Nelson Morales, handed him the gun. And in the third, recorded shortly before midnight, Pride says he brought the gun to the scene himself.
The statements were made before lead prosecutor Kenneth Taub.
At the end of the third video, Taub asks Pride why his story changed. Pride answered that he wanted to set the record straight and, hopefully, do less time: "When the time does come, I want some kind of leniency."
Prosecutors called to the stand Det. Albert Arredondo, who played the videotapes and testified about them.
Arredondo testified that Pride asked to change his version of the events twice, once after being told his version did not jibe with forensic evidence, and again after being told it was not consistent with the medical examiner's findings.
Pride also changed his story when recounting how the gun went off, though his defense throughout the trial has been that it fired a bullet by accident on the basement stairs.
"I tried to get out the doorway. I fell down face first at the bottom of the steps. As I attempted to get up, the gun went off," read a statement police said he gave before being videotaped.
But in his first videotaped statement, he said his right hand struck the bottom of steps leading to the street and the gun went off. In the second video, he said he struck his hand on the top step near the street when the gun went off, and in the third video he said he was running up the stairs and the gun went off.
Arredondo was cross-examined briefly by Pride's attorney, Christopher Wright, who asked whether Pride had discussed leniency, a plea deal or the death penalty. Arredondo testified no such discussions took place.The trial continues Monday.