Ex-NYPD Officer Heads Back to Prison on Murder Conviction

Attorney for former officer pledges to fight "terrible injustice"

Thursday, Jun 3, 2010  |  Updated 7:12 PM EDT
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Ex-NYPD Officer Heads Back to Prison on Murder Conviction

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A former New York City policeman has lost a last-minute attempt to stay out of prison following the reinstatement of his murder conviction.

A spokesman for the state Court of Appeals said Thursday that a judge there declined to issue a stay requested by Richard DiGuglielmo. DiGuglielmo's hearing was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon.

DiGuglielmo has been free since a Westchester County judge overturned his conviction in 2008. But the Appellate Division reinstated the conviction last week, ordering him to return to court and surrender

DiGuglielmo was off-duty on Oct. 3, 1996, when he killed Charles Campbell, 37. Campbell was arguing with DiGuglielmo's father outside the family's Dobbs Ferry deli and hit him with a baseball bat.

DiGuglielmo, fearing Campbell would kill his father, grabbed a gun from under the deli counter and shot Campbell.

A Westchester County judge freed DiGuglielmo two years ago, finding that one witness was pressured into giving testimony favorable to the prosecution.

The Appellate Division ruled that even if the jury had heard the claim of undue pressure, it would have convicted DiGuglielmo.

DiGuglielmo's attorney, Andrew Schapiro, decried the ruling.

"The shooting of Charles Campbell was a tragedy, but it was not a crime," Schapiro said in a statement. "What measure of justice does it serve to take a man who was wrongfully convicted in the first place, free him from prison and then send him back after 18 months of freedom during which he led an exemplary life with his family and friends.

Pointing out that DiGuglielmo served nearly 12 years for coming to the aid of his father, Schapiro pledged to fight the reinstatement of his murder conviction.

"This is a terrible injustice, but one that we will continue to fight until he is free once and for all," he said. "We will be asking the New York State Court of Appeals to review this decision and right a terrible wrong."  

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