Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.
Jury selection started Thursday in the trial of a former high-ranking Nassau County police official accused of conspiring to cover up a school burglary as a favor to a police benefactor.
Mark Cohen, the Suffolk County judge presiding over the case against ex-second deputy commissioner William Flanagan, said the trial is expected to conclude in mid-February, barring any setbacks.
Flanagan and two other former high-ranking police officials, deputy chief of patrol John Hunter and Alan Sharpe, deputy commander of the Seventh Precinct, have denied accusations of scuttling an investigation into a Merrick man who stole more than $10,000 worth of electronics from Bellmore’s John F. Kennedy High School in 2009.
Zachary Parker, the son of a prominent police benefactor, last year admitted to the burglary, violated his probation and was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison. Parker and his father have not been charged in connection with the alleged cover up.
In the Flanagan case, nearly 100 prospective jurors—many forced to stand—packed the Nassau County courtroom and were asked if health, business, vacation obligations, language difficulties or other responsibilities would preclude them from serving.
Students and those caring for children or the elderly were released with little or no contest. But those claiming business obligations were met with more scrutiny by the judge, prosecutors and defense counsel.
The judge went over the case with possible jurors and advised them not to speculate why Sharpe, Hunter and Flangan are scheduled to be tried separately. The jury selection process is expected to continue into next week.
Before the jurors were ushered in, Cohen discussed procedural issues in the upcoming trial, including an amendment to the original indictment and acknowledging that he received the prosecutors’ witness list.
Cohen was appointed in March after two previous Nassau judges recused themselves. One of the two, Judge John Kase, announced this week his retirement and return to the criminal defense law firm he founded.
Flangan, Sharpe and Hunter were indicted following a Press expose into benefits given to those who have donated money to a Nassau police nonprofit foundation that is building a new police academy at Nassau Community College.
The program offers assistance with temporarily restoring electricity, heat and hot water to damaged homes while permanent repair work continues. The goal is to get displaced residents back in their homes quickly.
Residents seeking assistance through the Nassau County STEP Program should dial 1-888-684-4267. Suffolk residents can apply by calling 211.
New York State police are crediting forensic technological advancements and sticktoitiveness for solving a murder investigation after 28 years this week.
Troopers arrested Raed Innab, 46, and charged him with second-degree murder for the Aug. 21, 1984 stabbing death of 32-year-old Darwish Ali Darwish, who had been convicted of killing the suspect’s uncle.
Both men were from Brooklyn. Darwish was found suffering from stab wounds along Hecksher State Parkway in East Islip and later died at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.
Darwish, a married and the father of three children, had just been released after serving a 7-year prison term for first-degree manslaughter in the death of Carl Innab.
Darwish was free on bail following his arrest by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service officials on an illegal residency charge shortly after his release from prison.
Authorities had been received an anonymous telephone call warning that Darwish would be killed by a member of Innab’s family before Darwish was convicted in 1976, according to a report in The New York Times from the time.
Investigators ask anyone who may have information regarding this investigation to contact the New York State Police Major Crimes Unit at 631-756-3390.