On Monday, December 19th, Nicholas Tartaglione, a former law enforcement officer has been accused of quadruple murder in Orange County, New York, after the defendant was allegedly caught in a drug deal gone bad. Following a search of Mr. Tartaglione’s premises, the Chester Police Department found four bodies buried on his property.
Even though the bodies have not been yet identified, authorities believe they belong to four people who went missing in April, whom the defendant is accused of killing. According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, the 49-year-old retired police officer pleaded not guilty to a five-count indictment also charging him with conspiracy to distribute approximately 11 pounds of cocaine on top of the killings. If the jury finds him guilty, Nicholas Tartaglione will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. Unfortunately, Nicholas Tartaglione’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Authorities say that the distribution of cocaine, as well as the murders took place near Likquid Lounge, a local Chester bar. Via an official statement, Peter Graziano, the Chester Police Department Chief pointed out to the massive degree of destruction that drug trading involves. Also, he took the opportunity to express his concern about the deceased’s families, saying he hopes they find peace and closure in Mr. Tartaglione’s arrest.
If the bodies do turn out to belong to the missing persons, authorities believe they have finally found Urbano Santiago, Hector Gutierrez, Martin and Miguel Luna for whom they were searching since April 11th, 2016.
The former police officer was suspended from the force in 1999 after he was arrested for perjury. At the time, Westchester prosecutors were questioning him about a drunk driving arrest he conducted prior to the hearing. Even though Mr. Tartaglione was immediately fired on departmental charges, he sued in order to get his job back. In 2003, he was reinstated as a Briarcliff Manor law enforcement officer and also received $320,000 in back pay.
According to the Daily News, Nicholas Tartaglione retired five years later on disability with an annual pension of roughly $65,000. His father describes the defendant as “the best kid in the world” and does not believe he was capable of the murders. However, if the former police officer is found guilty, he faces a minimum of 20 years behind bars for each murder charge and between 10 years to life for the drug charge. Nicholas Tartaglione will go on trial on January 5th, 2017.
image Source: Wikipedia