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Opening statements in Hempstead trial of man accused of fatally shooting 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

Shortly before Leonard Reed fatally shot and stabbed his estranged wife in February 2013, the Hempstead man told her: "If I can't have you, nobody will," a Nassau prosecutor said Thursday.

Reed's murder trial kicked off with the prosecution alleging the defendant waged a domestic war against Diane Parker-Reed, 42, that ended when he got into a police shootout and killed her despite an order of protection she had against him.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Walsh told jurors Reed decided to kill the victim "in a brutal and horrific way" and "was willing and determined to take the life of anybody else, including any police officer that got in his way."

Reed, 47, is charged with second-degree murder, gun offenses and the attempted murder of Hempstead Police Officer Roman Pettway Jr.

Defense attorney Toni Marie Angeli, of Garden City, said there's no doubt Reed is responsible for the victim's death. But she argued he committed first-degree manslaughter, not an intentional act of homicide.

"He was operating under intense emotional duress," Angeli said in her opening statement.

Walsh said Parker-Reed moved to a safe house to escape Reed's abuse, but returned home with a plan of relocating with her daughter, N'Daya Lee, now 20.

Walsh said Shetia Preston, a tenant living in the basement of the Roosevelt Street home, initially heard two gunshots on Feb. 7, 2013, after Reed barged in with a semi-automatic pistol and attacked his estranged wife in the kitchen.

Preston heard Reed utter, "If I can't have you, nobody will," before he shot the victim again, according to the prosecutor.

Reed threatened Preston with the gun before she placed the 911 call that brought police to the home as Reed continued to fire on his wife, Walsh said.

When Pettway, the first responding officer, went inside, Reed came out of the kitchen and fired at least two shots at the cop, according to the prosecutor.

After the officer retreated and other officers arrived, a shootout ensued, Walsh said, with Reed firing at least one more shot from the front door and the cops returning fire.

One of the police bullets hit Preston in her right breast as she hid in a closet with another woman who was in the house with her infant daughter, Walsh said.

The prosecutor said Reed returned to the kitchen and shot the victim an eighth time, then plunged a knife into her back 10 times before later surrendering to police.

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