Pharmacy Killer Pleads Guilty to Long Island Massacre

David Laffer wanted to spare families from reliving the tragedy in a trial.

By Greg Cergol
|  Thursday, Sep 8, 2011  |  Updated 10:19 PM EDT
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David Laffer, the man accused of killing four during a robbery at a Long Island pharmacy, pleads guilty.

Greg Cergol

David Laffer, the man accused of killing four during a robbery at a Long Island pharmacy, pleads guilty.

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The man accused of killing four people at a Long Island pharmacy in June pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Thursday, with his lawyer saying he wanted to spare the families from reliving the ordeal during a trial.

A judge asked David Laffer if he was pleading guilty because he was guilty.

"Yes, your honor," Laffer said in the Riverhead, N.Y. courtroom where more than two dozen family members of the four victims looked on.

Daniel Taccetta, whose sister, Jamie, was among those killed, said it was difficult to look at Laffer in court, but welcomed the plea.

"It did spare us from a long trial and from seeing the surveillance video of the murders," he said.

Attorney Eric Naiburg said "there was no viable defense" for Laffer, and described his client as not wanting to put the families through a trial that would revisit the events of the June 19 massacre at Haven Drugs pharmacy in Medford.

Prosecutors said chilling security video showed a disguised Laffer shooting his victims at the pharmacy in his mission to steal painkillers.

In court on Thursday they asked him a series of questions about the robbery, and with a series of "yes" answers, he confirmed that he and his wife, Melinda Brady, planned the robbery and that they shot the two pharmacy workers and two customers.

The pair were known prescription pill addicts, police said.

Prosecutors asked for four consecutive life-without-parole sentences for Laffer. The judge told him he would receive "the maximum sentence the law allows."

Police said Brady was the getaway driver, and she initially pleaded not guilty to first-degree robbery in July. She also pleaded guilty in court Thursday and could get up to 25 years in prison.

Along with Taccetta, who was a customer in the pharmacy, customer Bryon Sheffield, 71, pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45, and drugstore employee Jennifer Mejia, 17, were shot and killed.

Shortly after Laffer's and Brady's arrests, Brady openly blamed her husband: "He did it," she told reporters when she was led from police headquarters after her arrest in June. "He did all of this."

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