‘CON GAME’: The Police Benevolent Association claims that the widow of a Police Officer murdered in 1998 was not apprised of a parole hearing for a woman convicted of manslaughter in connection with his killing. The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision insists notice was sent to family members. The woman, Betsy Ramos, will be released from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, above, on Dec. 10, but taken into Federal custody for violating conditions of an earlier parole.
Following a Parole Board’s decision earlier this month to release a woman convicted in connection with the 1998 murder of New York City Police Officer Anthony Mosomillo, the Police Benevolent Association said his widow was not given the opportunity to oppose her release. It also contested the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s response that the officer’s family was notified of the October hearing.
“The con game that the Parole Board just ran on the Mosomillo family is an utter disgrace,” the PBA’s president, Patrick J. Lynch, said in a Nov. 18 release following the panel’s decision to release Betsy Ramos.
The DOCCS, though, disputed the PBA’s contention, saying “the family members of Officer Anthony Mosomillo were notified and all previously submitted written victim impact statements, as well as transcripts from prior victim impact statements, were made available to the panel conducting the interview, as is standard practice.”
The PBA said the department was being deceitful. The union said no family members had received letters advising them of a new hearing date, adding that a review of prior statements was insufficient.
“Ramos was given a chance to start fresh and make her case before a new parole panel. Why was the Mosomillo family deprived of the opportunity to do the same?” the PBA said in a statement.
The October hearing was the second this year for Ms. Ramos, who successfully appealed a parole panel’s January decision to not grant her release.
Bound for Federal Lock-Up
She may not be free anytime soon, however: U.S. Marshals will take her from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility when she is released on Dec. 10 and hand her off to Federal officials ahead of arraignment on charges of violating the terms her previous parole, when, a Brooklyn jury found, she helped her boyfriend grab the service weapon from Officer Mosomillo’s partner during a struggle in her East Flatbush basement apartment on May 26, 1998.
The boyfriend then shot and mortally wounded Officer Mosomillo, who also fired his weapon, killing the man.
The officers had come to arrest the boyfriend, Jose Serrano, a parolee, for failing to appear in court on drug charges.
The jury convicted her on charges of manslaughter, assault and obstruction of governmental administration, all in the second degree, but acquitted her of second-degree murder. Although the manslaughter charge typically carried a maximum sentence of 15 years, four previous felony convictions on drug charges meant she was regarded as a persistent offender and was sentenced to 15 years to life. Her sentences on the two other counts were to be served concurrently.
Two days after Officer Mosomillo was killed, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then-Police Commissioner Howard Safir released a report calling for the end of parole in the state. They urged the state Assembly to pass a bill that would require first-time violent offenders to serve 85 percent of their maximum sentences before becoming eligible for parole. The bill, known as Jenna’s Law, for a nursing student killed by a parolee in 1997, had already passed the State Senate. The Assembly passed the bill later that year, which then-Governor George Pataki then signed. It became law in September 1998.
Ms. Ramos, 55, was therefore first eligible for parole in 2013. She had appeared before the Parole Board three times prior to her January hearing.
Officer Mosomillo’s widow, Margaret Mosomillo, and other members of his family went before a Parole Board panel to deliver victim impact statements in January. A parole panel declined to release Ms. Ramos at that time, but she successfully appealed that decision, claiming the board had, among other things, failed “to ask necessary questions and “to consider...required statutory factors.” She also claimed the panel did not properly assess her suitability for release.
Mrs. Mosomillo denounced the parole board for not giving her the chance to oppose Ms. Ramos’s parole in October.
‘Trampled My Rights’
“Every two years, I have been forced to relive the pain of losing Anthony in order to deliver my victim impact statement—and always during the holidays, when I feel his loss the most,” Mrs. Mosomillo said in a statement released by the PBA. “This time, I didn’t even get that opportunity. Just a cold letter saying ‘your husband’s killer is being released.’ That letter is what every family of a murdered police officer dreads, but the Parole Board could not care less. They have trampled my rights and hidden behind bureaucracy.”
The Parole Board staff, Mr. Lynch said, was “rolling out the red carpet for cop-killers and other vicious criminals.”
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