Detective: Suspect had conflicting stories

Nelson Moralez sits by his lawyer Wayne Bodden Nelson Moralez sits by his lawyer Wayne Bodden in court during a hearing prior to going to trial in the murder of police officer Peter Figoski of West Babylon in 2011. (April 29, 2013) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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The alleged leader of a robbery crew who is accused in the murder of NYPD officer Peter Figoski after the lawman walked in on a botched robbery in Brooklyn gave conflicting accounts of his activities that night, according to the testimony of two detectives Monday.

Nelson Morales, 28, of Ozone Park, Queens, "gave me three different versions," Det. John Mullins testified in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

Det. Thomas McKiernan testified later in the day that Morales then wrote out a statement to clear up the oral statements, but wrote a second statement when detectives questioned him further.

Justice Alan Marrus ruled after the hearings that all the statements would be admissible when Morales and co-defendant Kevin Santos, 32, also of Ozone Park, go on trial in the murder of Figoski, 47, a West Babylon resident with four daughters.

The triggerman, Lamont Pride, 28, of North Carolina, was convicted of murder and sentenced in February to 45 years to life in prison.

The alleged getaway driver, Michael Velez, 23, of Ozone Park, was acquitted of all charges after a joint trial with Pride, but before separate juries.

Morales and Santos will also have separate juries.

All the defendants were charged with felony murder because they allegedly committed an underlying felony, robbery, that resulted in Figoski's death in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2011.

The pretrial hearings will continue Tuesday with Marrus expected to rule on the admissibility of statements by Santos.

McKiernan testified that as he led Santos to Central Booking after his arrest, Santos said: "Excuse me sir. Can I be charged with murder if I didn't pull the trigger?"

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