Zachary Parker's prison time extended after 'fight,' says official
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The Merrick burglar at the center of a Nassau County police corruption scandal had his prison time extended after a jailhouse fight in December landed him in a punishment cellblock, the state said Thursday.
Zachary Parker, 21, was sentenced to 11/3 to 3 years but will probably serve far less time: He's at a prison boot camp that rewards graduates with early freedom.
Parker, Inmate 12A4459, was transferred in December to the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, the camp in upstate Brocton. The day he was supposed to join an embarking "platoon" -- a group that goes through camp together -- he got a "disciplinary ticket" for "violent conduct and fighting," state prisons spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.
"Instead of starting the platoon, he was sent to the Special Housing Unit, where he remained for a period of 15 days," Foglia said. That meant 23 hours a day by himself in a cell.
The next available platoon wasn't until Jan. 21, with a scheduled graduation on July 18, she said. In spring, a parole board will evaluate his progress.
Boot camp proponents say its six months of counseling, military-style regimen and physical drills save taxpayer cash and reduce recidivism.
Parker's lawyer, Marc Gann, expressed surprise at news of the fight and said he thought the delay was due to a waiting list.
Parker pleaded guilty last year to the 2009 burglary of more than $10,000 in electronics from his alma mater, Kennedy High School in Bellmore. Before that his father, Gary Parker -- a Manhattan accountant and a longtime police donor -- allegedly had enlisted the help of his high-ranking police friends to thwart his son's arrest. The police refused to charge the young burglar, but the district attorney convened a grand jury that indicted him.
Three of those now-retired police officials -- William Flanagan, deputy commissioner; John Hunter, a deputy patrol chief; and Al Sharpe, a detective supervisor -- were charged with playing roles in the arrest prevention. Last month, Flanagan was convicted of conspiracy and misconduct misdemeanors but acquitted of a felony. The others have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
Parker has been locked up since August, when a judge jailed him for breaking the terms of an earlier no-jail deal that banned him from driving.