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No verdict in Darrell Fuller double-murder trial

Accused cop killer Darrell Fuller leaves the Nassau

Accused cop killer Darrell Fuller leaves the Nassau County Courthouse after the jury ends their first day of deliberation on Friday July 25, 2014 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Jurors in accused cop killer Darrell Fuller's trial didn't reach a verdict in three hours of deliberations Friday after the defense attacked eyewitnesses' reliability and a prosecutor cited "abundant" evidence against the defendant.

"We proved this case to you in so many ways, over and over," Nassau prosecutor Mitchell Benson told the Mineola jury in his closing argument.

Fuller, 34, of Queens, is facing life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder charges.

Prosecutors say Fuller fled a car crash on Oct. 23, 2012, before gunning down Nassau police Officer Arthur Lopez, 29, during a traffic stop at 241st Street and Jamaica Avenue, near the Queens border.

Fuller then drove his damaged car south on the Cross Island Parkway before fatally shooting Raymond Facey, 58, of Brooklyn, and escaping in his car, according to authorities.

Dozens of police officers came to court Friday to support the victims' families, including Lopez's former partner, Officer Clarence Hudson, and other members of the department's elite Emergency Service Unit.

Defense attorney Kenneth St. Bernard, of Mineola, told jurors that Hudson and an off-duty NYPD officer who testified were "honestly mistaken" when they identified Fuller as Lopez's killer.

"Nobody saw a gun fired at Officer Lopez," he said.

St. Bernard said his client's photo was in news reports 24 hours before eyewitnesses saw a suspect lineup. The attorney claimed gunshot residue police found on his client's right hand could have come from when Fuller suffered two gunshot wounds.

St. Bernard also questioned why DNA evidence showing Facey's blood was on clothing authorities linked to Fuller only emerged days before the trial started.

"There are a lot of inconsistencies in this case. There are a lot of holes," St. Bernard said.

But Benson said authorities kept investigating the case until the trial, stockpiling convincing evidence that included six eyewitness identifications of Fuller.

"When you get identification after identification, you know the defendant is guilty," he said.

Besides DNA evidence, the prosecutor said tests showed the same Ruger 9-mm semi-automatic pistol was used in both slayings and to inflict Fuller's gunshot wounds -- a gun police found in a car linked to a friend of Fuller's. Authorities have alleged Fuller had help staging his own shooting hours after the slayings in an attempt to look like the case's third victim.

Benson also said cellphone records linked Fuller's phone to the area of Lopez's slaying at the time it happened, and to the area of a Queens preschool where video showed Fuller, of St. Albans, took cover as a police manhunt was underway.

Jurors sent three notes Friday to acting State Supreme Court Justice Jerald Carter after starting their deliberations around 1:30 p.m., asking to see some evidence photos and again hear legal elements of some of the charges.

The victims' families left court without commenting, with Lopez's sister crying.

Police Benevolent Association president James Carver said there was disappointment a verdict hadn't been reached. "We believe that the evidence is so strong in this case that a good verdict will eventually come out," he said.

Jurors resume deliberations Monday.

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