Major offense chief handles fatal cop case

High-profile cases like the one against accused cop-killer Darrell Fuller are nothing new to Nassau's Major Offense Bureau Chief Mitch Benson.

As trials chief for the Brooklyn district attorney's Homicide Bureau in 2006, Benson won a conviction against Marlon Legere in the murder of two plainclothes NYPD detectives, Patrick Rafferty and Robert Parker.

Kenneth Taub, chief of Brooklyn's Homicide Bureau and his boss at the time, said Benson's closing argument in that case was one of the best he has ever heard.

"He weaved the evidence together to make a compelling picture that left no doubt of the defendant's guilt," Taub said Thursday.

The case of Fuller, who is accused of gunning down Nassau officer Arthur Lopez and motorist Raymond Facey on Tuesday, will be under a public microscope. More than 100 police officers went to Fuller's arraignment Thursday and are sure to pack the courtroom as the case moves forward.

Benson, 53, came to Nassau in 2006, shortly after Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice took office. He had the tough job of replacing Fred Klein, the former MOB chief who handled many of Nassau's most notorious murder cases.

But Benson has earned a reputation as someone willing to try tough cases and skilled at training greener assistant district attorneys.

"He has the perfect blend of meticulousness, passion and intelligence to do our most important cases and that's why I've got him doing this one," Rice said.

Dana Grossblatt, a Jericho defense lawyer trained by Benson in Brooklyn, said he would sit in on her trials and give her constructive criticism she uses to this day. "If anyone on this planet thinks I'm a decent lawyer, I attribute it all to Mitch," Grossblatt said.

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