A man found guilty of shoving an NYPD officer to his death during a domestic violence call said at his manslaughter sentencing Wednesday that he was innocent and would have tried to help the officer had he known he was about to topple 9 feet off a stoop.
George Villanueva, 42, was sentenced to between 28 1/2 and 32 years to life in prison in a Brooklyn courtroom so packed by officers that they stood standing along the back wall.
He was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Officer Alain Schaberger, but was acquitted of the more serious charge of murder.
Schaberger, 42, of Westchester, was responding to a domestic violence call made by Villanueva's girlfriend when he fell and broke his neck in 2011.
Villanueva said he was no killer.
"The fact of the matter is I didn't push your son, all right?" he said, turning toward Schaberger's parents and sister. "I gain nothing by doing that. I'm not some idiot."
Villanueva said he never would have let a "simple domestic thing" turn into a murder.
"Had I known that guy was going to fall, I would've helped him, I would've grabbed him," he said.
Villanueva's lawyer argued Schaberger lost his footing because he was knocked by another officer. No one noticed he had fallen until after they were pulling Villanueva down the steps, attorney Kleon Andreadis said.
The maximum prison term also includes punishment for violating the order of protection taken out by his girlfriend.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale said Villanueva, who had at least six prior convictions for burglary, didn't deserve leniency. "His life is a pattern of criminality," the prosecutor said.
Schaberger was a 10-year NYPD veteran. He was assigned to the 84th Precinct and engaged to be married.
In a tearful statement, Schaberger's father, Paul, of East Islip, urged Judge Neil Firetog to impose the maximum sentence. The family later said they were satisfied with the outcome.