The patrol partner of slain NYPD Officer Peter Figoski choked with emotion Friday as he once again took the witness stand to testify at the trial of men accused of murdering his partner in 2011.
Retired Det. Glenn Estrada again recalled that night that he and Figoski, both then West Babylon residents, responded to a report of a burglary in progress in the basement of a home in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn, near the border with Queens.
Figoski, 47, was fatally shot as he walked down the steps to the basement, while Estrada wrestled with one suspect outside the house on Dec. 12, 2011.
Estrada said he was not immediately aware that his partner was shot, and found out only after a foot chase that ended in the capture of the burglar, Lamont Pride, who was convicted of Figoski's murder in February.
After Pride was subdued, "I felt I should be getting back to the scene. I had a bad feeling something bad had happened," Estrada said in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn. He said he returned to the house at 25 Pine St. to find a fatally wounded Figoski being wheeled away on a stretcher.
Estrada was testifying at the joint trials before separate juries of Kevin Santos, 32, and Nelson Morales, 28, both of Ozone Park -- two of the five men accused of committing the burglary and being responsible for the murder of Figoski.
Pride was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison. The accused getaway driver was acquitted and the fifth man pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the others.
Defense attorney Harold Baker, representing Santos, had told the jury in his opening statement on Thursday that Estrada might have "fudged" his account, and that other detectives had coerced a confession from his client.
However, Estrada gave essentially the same testimony Friday -- during 45 minutes of direct testimony and 25 minutes of cross-examination by Baker -- that he gave in February at Pride's trial.
Estrada was promoted to detective after the murder; he retired after the February trials.
Defense attorney Wayne Bodden, representing Morales, told Judge Alan Marrus that he did not wish to cross-examine Estrada and asked that the Morales jury be excused from that testimony.
The judge sent the Morales jury home for the weekend and the Santos jury finished for the day less than half an hour later.
The trials resume Monday.