Ex-cop who shared cell with Jeffrey Epstein convicted of quadruple murder | US news

A former New York police officer who shared a jail cell with Jeffrey Epstein at the time of the sex trafficker’s suicide executed four men and then buried them in a mass grave over what he perceived to be a debt of money, federal jurors determined on Thursday.

Nicholas Tartaglione faces life imprisonment after being found guilty of the killings of Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna and Hector Gutierrez, according to a statement from US justice department prosecutors.

Tartaglione, 55, first drew national media attention when he was named as the cellmate of Epstein at the time the disgraced financier died by suicide in 2019 while he was detained on federal charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14. In that case, Tartaglione was cleared of wrongdoing.

But in the case for which he was just convicted, prosecutors charged Tartaglione with becoming a drug dealer after retiring as a police officer in the suburban community of Briarcliff Manor, New York. He suspected that Martin Luna had stolen money from him and then lured him to a meeting about 60 miles north of New York City – in Chester – to ambush him, as prosecutors tell it.

Martin Luna had no idea what Tartaglione had planned, so he showed up with his two nephews – Miguel Luna and Santiago – as well as a family friend, Gutierrez. Calling what ensued “pure terror”, Tartaglione tortured Martin Luna and strangled him to death with a zip-tie while one of his nephews watched, prosecutors contended.

He and some associates then took Luna’s nephews and friend away, forced them to their knees and then fired bullets into the backs of their heads, killing them, authorities maintained. Tartaglione then buried all four men in a grave dug at a property that he rented before the victims were discovered about eight months later and he was charged.

The US government had lined up three associates of Tartaglione to testify against him at his trial in connection with the killings, according to the Associated Press. A fourth associate, an also ex-police officer, had killed himself.

After jurors in White Plains, New York, returned a guilty verdict in the case on Thursday, the region’s US attorney, Damian Williams, issued a statement saying, “Nicholas … Tartaglione’s heinous acts represent a broader betrayal, as he was a former police officer who once swore to protect the very community he devastated.”

Jurors, Williams’s statement added, sent “a message that no one is above the law”.

Meanwhile, an attorney for Tartaglione has signaled his client’s intent to file an appeal asking a higher court to reverse the guilty verdict against him.

The defense lawyer, Bruce Barket, said in a statement reported by NBC News that his side was “deeply disappointed with the verdict” and that his client “won’t stop fighting until he gains his freedom”.

“This didn’t end here,” Barket’s statement also said. “It just moves the next phase – the appellate courts.”

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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