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Hempstead man convicted of murdering his estranged wife

Leonard Reed, 47, of Hempstead was sentenced on

Leonard Reed, 47, of Hempstead was sentenced on June 17, 2015, to 50 years to life for murdering his estranged wife and trying to kill a police officer in 2013. Credit: Handout

A jury convicted a Hempstead man Tuesday of murder and related charges in the death of his estranged wife, who had sought shelter from his battering before he shot and stabbed her to death two years ago.

Leonard Reed, 42, faces a minimum of 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced April 22 for the murder of Diane Parker-Reed, 42, on Feb. 7, 2013. Reed was also convicted of the attempted murder of a Hempstead police officer at whom he shot during a standoff after shooting his wife.

Parker-Reed's daughter, N'Daya Lee, 20, who authorities said had also been threatened by Reed, spoke after the verdict. "I just want to say I'm extremely thankful to the jury for making the right decision," she said, her voice breaking, "and for getting justice, and that's all I want for my mother."

Prosecutor Michael Walsh told the jury in his closing argument Monday that Reed killed his wife after years of abuse because she had finally decided to get away from him.

Walsh quoted a tenant in the house on Roosevelt Street who said she heard Reed tell his wife before he shot her, "If I can't have you, nobody will."

At another point, Walsh said the couple had a "relationship that should have ended a long time before, but it hadn't."

The defense did not deny most details of the attack. But defense attorney Toni Marie Angeli of Garden City told the jury in her summation Monday that Reed "was absolutely a person who was showing signs of emotional distress" and should have been tried on a lesser charge.

"The law recognizes that people act badly under severe emotional distress," Angeli said near the end of the two-week trial.

The jury returned a guilty verdict on all nine charges after deliberating for about two hours, with a break in the middle for lunch.

Walsh said Shetia Preston, a tenant living in the basement of the Roosevelt Street home, initially heard two gunshots after Reed barged in with a semi-automatic pistol and attacked his estranged wife in the kitchen.

After shooting his wife, Reed fired at responding police officers during a standoff, Walsh said. Reed then returned to the kitchen and shot his wife again and stabbed her 10 times before surrendering to police, he said.

The jury convicted Reed of firing gunshots at Hempstead Police Officer Roman Pettway Jr. at the house where he once lived with Parker-Reed. He was also convicted of several counts of criminal contempt for ignoring court orders of protection.

Parker-Reed had moved to a safe house to escape Reed's abuse, but returned to her home as she planned to get her daughter and leave him. Reed had served 15 days in jail in 2012 for assaulting his wife and judges had issued several orders of protection over the years, dating back to 2008.

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