A Long Island man facing first-degree murder charges in the shooting of four people at a Medford pharmacy has taken the unusual step of writing to be excused from jury duty. His request was granted.
David Laffer wrote to the Suffolk County Commissioner of Jurors that he can't comply with a recent jury notice.
He is currently being held without bail, charged with killing two pharmacy workers and two customers during a holdup last month for painkillers. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a brief handwritten letter, Laffer explains: "I simply wished to relay this to you, so that I do not get into any further legal troubles."
Commissioner of Jurors Michael O'Donohoe said authorities will honor the request for a postponement. O'Donohoe says if Laffer were out on bail, he would be eligible to serve on a jury.
O'Donohoe said the request was among the strangest he has ever received.
"I have had people give me 101 reasons but this is the first time I had someone locked up facing capital murder charges," ODonohoe said. "But he is innocent until proven guilty."
ODonohoe also said that is appears that Laffer sent a copy of his note to Newsday, which first contacted him about the issue. He said Newsday had called for comment on the request before his office received the letter in the mail.
"The fact that he is sending it to Newsday I find rather interesting and I guess he wanted some publicity on it and he’s getting it," O'Donohoe told NBC New York. "Otherwise it would be just sent to me and it would be confidential."