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Zachary Parker begins prison term upstate

Zachary Parker leaves the Nassau County Court after

Zachary Parker leaves the Nassau County Court after being sentenced in Mineola. (Sept. 19, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A young burglar on Friday began serving the upstate prison time he received as punishment for repeatedly violating the terms of a previous no-jail plea deal, records show.

Zachary Parker, 21, was shipped 60 miles northeast -- from the Nassau County jail in East Meadow to the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, which serves as New York State's intake center for prisoners, according to prison system spokeswoman Linda Foglia.

Parker, sentenced to 1 to 3 years, is at the core of a Nassau police corruption scandal that led to three police commanders being arrested in March on misconduct and conspiracy charges. The three are accused of trying to scuttle the burglary arrest of Parker, whose father, Gary Parker, was a police department benefactor.

Parker could be freed in six months under an early-release program his attorney, Marc Gann of Mineola, said he'd pursue.

Foglia said prison officials will decide during the weeks-long intake process whether Parker, formerly of Merrick, qualifies for the program, a military-style boot camp.

Parker is in prison because he violated the terms of a plea deal struck earlier this year, under which he was to serve five years' probation with a promise not to drive. But he was repeatedly caught driving and got into several crashes, including a hit-and-run, authorities said.

The judge on the case, John Kase of County Court, voided the plea deal and ordered Parker to prison.

The burglary case came to light despite the alleged cover-up -- following Parker's theft of $11,000 in equipment from a high school -- and the district attorney's office prosecuted Parker on the burglary charge.

Reached Friday night, Gann said Parker's transfer to state prison wasn't unexpected and is standard procedure.

The commanders accused of trying to scuttle the initial Parker probe are awaiting trial.

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