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Suspect in botched robbery that resulted in death of LI cop rejects plea deal

Jagger Freeman appears in Queens Supreme Court in

Jagger Freeman appears in Queens Supreme Court in March 2019. Credit: Charles Eckert

A suspect in a botched robbery that resulted in the death of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen in 2019 rejected a plea deal Wednesday that would have given him a 12-year prison sentence.

The case against Jagger Freeman, 28, is now expected to go to trial next year.

During a brief appearance in Queens State Supreme Court, Freeman appeared wearing orange jail clothing but said nothing during the proceedings.

Attorney Ronald Nir — who is representing Freeman — said the plea deal offered by prosecutors was unacceptable.

Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Holder then set a new court date for Jan. 10 for either the beginning of a trial or further conferencing.

Outside the courtroom, Nir told Newsday that the plea offer Freeman rejected was for a 12-year determinate sentence. Nir explained that the offered plea would have been to a robbery charge. A spokeswoman for the Queens District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the plea deal offer.

Freeman was originally charged with second-degree murder in the case in which Simonsen, 42, of Calverton, was fatally wounded by police gunfire as multiple officers responded to the robbery of an electronics store in Richmond Hill in February 2019.

Freeman is also charged with the wounding of a sergeant in his left leg during the fusillade.

According to police, Freeman and Christopher Ransom, 30, were suspected of robbing a T-Mobile store when a group of officers — including Simonsen — rushed to the scene and confronted both men as they tried to exit the business.

Ransom had brandished a realistic-looking imitation pistol and pointed it at responding officers, who fired 42 shots in about 11 seconds, the NYPD said at the time.

Simonsen was killed in the crossfire, according to investigators. Officials said Simonsen was struck in the chest and at a time when he wasn’t wearing his protective vest.

Earlier this month, Ransom pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated manslaughter and first-degree robbery in the case. Ransom faces 33 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 17.

"[Ransom] set in motion a terrible chain of events that began with a robbery and ended with a spray of bullets when Ransom pointed what appeared to be a deadly firearm towards police officers," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement when Ransom pleaded guilty.

"The defendant was repeatedly told to lower his weapon but did not do so. The heartbreaking result was the loss of Detective Simonsen’s life and Sergeant Matthew Gorman being shot in the leg."

Friends and colleagues said Simonsen was supposed to be off the day of the robbery but decided to work.

His funeral at St. Rosalie in Hampton Bays was attended by thousands of officers from around the tristate area.

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