A grand jury has indicted on murder charges the two men accused of slashing a Levittown grandmother to death in her home last month before attacking and robbing her grandson in what police called a revenge-fueled plot.
Benjamin Lopez, 23, of Levittown, and Deangelo Gill, 19, of Uniondale, entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in Nassau County Court to second-degree murder along with robbery, burglary, assault and weapon charges.
Acting state Supreme Court Justice Jerald Carter remanded both men to the county jail without setting bail.
Police have said the suspects attacked slaying victim Laraine Pizzichemi, 73, in her bedroom on Sept. 13 after seeing her 24-year-old grandson leave the family’s North Newbridge Road house.
The two then ransacked the home, cutting and beating the grandson when he returned, and forcing him to show them to a safe, where they took marijuana and money, according to authorities.
Police have alleged Lopez, who lived nearby, had a history of selling marijuana with the grandson and sought revenge because some dealings “went bad.”
Police said they arrived at the house after the grandson managed to call 911, as did a 21-year-old woman — previously identified by a source as his sister — who came home during part of the attack. Police said they arrested both suspects less than an hour later at Lopez’s house.
Lopez’s attorney, Bruce Barket, told the judge Wednesday he would potentially request bail for his client in the future.
The Garden City lawyer said after court that his firm would aggressively investigate the matter and Lopez was entitled to the presumption of innocence.
“The question is not whether or not murder is bad, the question is whether or not our client is criminally liable for this homicide and that certainly remains to be seen,” he added.
Gill’s Mineola attorney, Greg Madey, said after court that the case was in the early stages and he was just starting to examine information that the district attorney’s office had turned over so far.