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Zachary Parker to get 1-3 years in prison

Zachary Parker leaves Nassau County Court. (Sept. 10,

Zachary Parker leaves Nassau County Court. (Sept. 10, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The lawyer for a Merrick man at the center of a police-corruption scandal said his client will be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison after violating probation by driving with a suspended license and crashing into a stop sign.

Judge John Kase had at first spared Zachary Parker, 21, prison time after he pleaded guilty to burglary charges in June. But Kase said that deal was off after Parker admitted Monday that he had crashed a rented car into a stop sign near the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, then fled.

Parker's lawyer, Marc Gann, said Kase has agreed to sentence Parker to 1 to 3 years in prison at his client's next court date, Sept. 19.

"I'm not excusing what he did," Gann said after a short court appearance Monday. "But I think he's finally starting to get it."

Parker's burglary charge is at the center of a scandal that led to three top police commanders being charged with misconduct and conspiracy in March.

Prosecutors have said the now-retired defendants -- William Flanagan, second deputy commissioner; John Hunter, deputy chief of patrol; and Alan Sharpe, Seventh Precinct squad deputy commander -- worked to quash an investigation into the burglary of about $11,000 worth of audiovisual equipment from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore in May 2009 because of their relationship with Parker's father, Gary Parker, a police benefactor.

Although police never referred the case to prosecutors, the Nassau district attorney conducted a grand jury investigation that led to charges against Zachary Parker and the three police commanders.

Kase had agreed in June to grant Parker youthful-offender status and sentence him to probation with a suspended driver's license, rather than give him jail time, after Parker told the judge in court that he had learned his lesson and would reform.

Prosecutors said although Parker's license was suspended, it was not physically taken away from him. Parker had one car already rented when he was sentenced in June, and after returning that one, he rented three others using the defunct license, prosecutors said.

Of those, he damaged one in July when he ran off the New York State Thruway in upstate Sloatsburg, then a second one Aug. 2, leading to his re-arrest. The July incident was not reported to police, but the damage to the car was reported to the rental company, prosecutors said.

Gann said far from the special treatment prosecutors say Parker received from police, Parker is actually a target for other inmates in the Nassau jail. He said Parker is in "administrative segregation" at the jail because he's been singled out several times by other inmates.

"They know he's the kid who everyone thinks got a break, and they're none too happy about that," Gann said.

Jail spokeswoman Elizabeth Loconsolo confirmed that Parker is in a "special housing area," but said that's "due to his involvement in an altercation with other inmates and his behavior toward correction staff."

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