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In Reginald Ross double-murder case, judge hears closing arguments

Reginald Ross, 33, of Yaphank, has been charged

Reginald Ross, 33, of Yaphank, has been charged with second-degree murder in the October 2010 shooting death of John Williams, 39, outside his Holbrook home, Suffolk County police said. Credit: SCPD

The Yaphank man on trial for two fatal shootings is either a man of God trying to do good, or an assassin, attorneys said in closing arguments Wednesday before a Suffolk judge.

Ending a bench trial that began before Christmas, state Supreme Court Justice William Condon said he will issue a verdict Friday in Riverhead in the case of Reginald Ross, 37.

Ross is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and other charges. He is accused of fatally shooting flagman Raymond Hirt, 51, of Mastic Beach on May 24, 2010, at a Ronkonkoma construction site because he believed Hirt had delayed him in traffic weeks earlier and called him a racial slur after arguing.

And he's accused of killing John Williams, 39, outside his Holbrook home on Oct. 14, 2010, with the hope of luring a friend of Williams -- who owed Ross a drug debt -- to the funeral, so he could kill that man, too.

Defense attorney John Scarpa Jr. argued that Ross is a religious man committed to helping others who got caught in a case built on the unreliable word of criminals and drug addicts.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said the case against Ross was corroborated by bank records, cellphone tracking records and other evidence.

The strain of the long trial and its high stakes were apparent when Ross interrupted Biancavilla during his closing argument to call him an anti-gay slur.

Biancavilla turned to Ross, smiling, and said: "What am I?"

Court officers tensed as Scarpa told his client, "Stop it, Reggie."

Earlier, Scarpa argued that the case against Ross hangs on Allison Luberda, who testified that Ross bragged about the killings to her. She testified that Ross was her oxycodone dealer and that he had sexually enslaved her when her drug debt to him grew too large. Luberda also was the girlfriend of Kyle Greening, the friend of Williams that prosecutors say Ross wanted to kill.

Scarpa said the word of Luberda, "a drug-addicted, hallucinating liar" isn't enough to convict anyone.

Neither is the word of Luis Cherry, 25, "a homicidal little jerk" who pleaded guilty to taking part in the Williams killing with Ross, Scarpa said.

"How long did it take you, judge, to realize he was full of stupid, haughty, inconsistent tales?" Scarpa said. "It was upon this crock -- I mean, rock -- that the prosecution founded its case."

Biancavilla said the case was based on much more than Luberda and Cherry.

There was the duct tape stuck to the front license plate of Ross' car, backing up Luberda's testimony that Ross told her he'd taped a fake plate before killing Williams. And there was the record of an ATM withdrawal in Queens, supporting her testimony that he told her he was going there after shooting Hirt.

There were also records showing Ross' cellphone was near Hirt's house several times in the weeks before he was killed, backing Luberda's claim that Ross described how he stalked the victim.

Biancavilla noted both men died in their cars while starting their work days. Hirt's mother covered her face when Biancavilla showed a photo of her son's blood-soaked car. Williams' mother sobbed when Biancavilla showed photos of her son's body spilling out of his car.

Ross could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted.


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