Ex-Briarcliff Manor police officer found guilty in quadruple murder, conspiracy case
A former Briarcliff Manor police officer has been convicted in a murder and conspiracy case.
Nicholas Tartaglione had been charged with murder and conspiracy after a quadruple murder in Orange County.
Prosecutors say Tartaglione lured Martin Luna in April 2016 to a now-closed bar, the Likquid Lounge in Chester, that was run by Tartaglione's brother Luna.
Justice Dept. not seeking death penalty in drug conspiracy case of ex-Briarcliff Manor police officer
They say Luna owed Tartaglione a $200,000 drug debt and that Luna brought the three other men to the bar with him - but they were not involved in the drug deal.
Last week the prosecution's main witness, a man named Joseph Biggs, took the stand, and gave details of the murders.
Biggs says he worked as an enforcer collecting money for Tartaglione's drug deals. He testified that the night of the murders, Tartaglione beat, then strangled, Martin Luna to death inside the bar. According to Biggs, they drove Luna's body and the three other men with their hands tied to a property in Mount Hope that Tartaglione rented. Biggs then testified that the three men were made to kneel on the ground and he shot one in the back of the head. Tartaglione then shot the two others.
The bodies of Martin Luna, Miguel Luna, Urbano Santiago, and Hector Gutierrez were found eight months later when Tartaglione was charged.
Victims and family members of the defendant were at the courthouse in White Plains Wednesday for closing arguments.
Federal prosecutors were originally seeking the death penalty, but that was taken off the table back in December.
Tartaglione faces life in prison. Sentencing is Oct. 31.
"Tartaglione’s heinous acts represent a broader betrayal, as he was a former police officer who once swore to protect the very community he devastated," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. "Today, a jury has found Tartaglione guilty of these heinous acts, sending a message that no one is above the law."
Bruce Barket, Tartaglione’s defense attorney, argues that three government witnesses lied. He says they plan to appeal.
"As everyone knows, guilty verdicts are what proceeds every wrongful conviction and reversal. So, he remains hopeful that the system will one day vindicate his position, which from day one has been that he's not guilty,” he said.