Officer Peter Figoski's killers get 25 to life

Kevin Santos, left, 32, looks at his attorney

Kevin Santos, left, 32, looks at his attorney after learning of his fate for his part in the murdering of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski, 47, from West Babylon in Dec. 2011. Nelson Morales, 28, stands in court to learn his sentencing for his part in the same murder. (June 20, 2013) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

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Two Ozone Park men were sentenced Thursday to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski, a West Babylon resident who was shot on a Brooklyn stairway in 2011 responding to a robbery.

Nelson Morales, 29, and Kevin Santos, 32, were sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus in a Brooklyn courtroom packed with Figoski's police colleagues and his family.

The man who shot Figoski, Lamont Pride, 28, was convicted of murder and burglary in February and sentenced to 45 years to life in prison. A fourth suspect, Ariel Tejada, 24, who testified against his co-defendants, faces sentencing later this month under a plea deal that will likely get him 18 years to life in prison.

On Thursday, Marrus sentenced Morales and Santos to 20 years to life in prison for the murder and 25 years for burglary in the connection with the robbery.

Officers in the courtroom hallway applauded as Figoski's family left after the sentencing.

Both defendants will be eligible for parole after serving 21.4 years, the district attorney's office said.

"If there is any measure of justice that can be gotten out of a criminal court, we've gotten it. I'm satisfied with that," lead prosecutor Kenneth Taub said. "It is not going to bring police Officer Figoski back. This is not going to bring satisfaction to the family. It is all we can do, and to the extent we've done it, I'm pleased."

Figoski's mother, Mary Anne, 79, spoke for the family at the prosecution table as her husband, Frank, 80, stood over her. Two of Figoski's four daughters were in court but did not speak.

The judge asked her to identify herself for the record and she said in a low voice: "Mary Anne Figoski. I'm his mother."

She said her son went to work on the night of Dec. 11, 2011, thinking -- as always -- of his daughters. That night, he texted them: "Sleep well. I love you. See you tomorrow," she said.

She said Morales and Santos were without steady jobs while her son served others, and worked to make sure his four daughters were provided for. "Society must be protected from predators like them," she said.

Thursday's proceeding all but ended two sets of trials before Marrus that began in January and included separate juries for the four members of the crew because not all evidence was admissible against each defendant.

Morales was the ringleader of the crew and knew that a small-time marijuana dealer rented the Brooklyn basement apartment.

After the men kicked in the basement door shortly after 2 a.m., an uncle heard the commotion downstairs and called police. Figoski, one of two officers backing up officers in the first arriving patrol car, was starting down the stairs to the basement when he was shot by Pride.

Pride was acquitted of aggravated murder of a police officer, which would have drawn a mandatory sentence of life without parole. In February, another jury acquitted the alleged getaway driver Michael Velez, 23.

All five defendants were charged with the murder of Figoski under the legal theory that they were responsible for any death resulting from a felony committed -- in this case, the burglary.

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