“I swear by the Bible my son is innocent,” Josefa Villanueva screamed as she knelt outside the courtroom, holding her Bible close to her heart. “These are lies by the 84th.”
Villanueva pled not guilty to indictments of murder and domestic violence — the initial crime that sparked the March 13 confrontation that led to Officer Alain Schaberger’s death.
Cops were called to Bergen Street between Third and Fourth avenues that morning after Kim Dykstra, Villanueva’s former girlfriend, claimed the 40-year-old had showed up at her home, prompting an argument, then left.
Police went to Villanueva’s apartment on St. Marks Place between Third and Fourth avenue, confronting him on the stoop.
Cops were slapping handcuffs on Villanueva when he began fighting them off, shoving Schaberger over a low railing.
Schaberger fell 9 feet into a basement staircase below. He died of a broken neck.
Cops charged Villanueva with the murder, but defense attorney Kleon Andreadis says witnesses claim the burly Boerum Hill resident had nothing to do with Schaberger’s death. Those witnesses say that Schaberger’s partner knocked into him during the struggle, sending the cop over the railing.
“Clearly, he never lunged at the officer who fell over the rail or pushed him over the rail,” Andreadis said.
The army of NYPD officers — who attended the court hearing to support Schaberger’s family — didn’t pay any attention to Mrs. Villanueva’s claims.
Instead, officers spent the entire hearing staring at Villanueva — prompting the judge overseeing the case to recommend that the accused cop killer attend his next court hearing through a video link rather than in person.
Andreadis took the judge up on his offer, drawing outrage from police union president Pat Lynch.
“We will be here. He should be here,” Lynch told the Daily News. “This person is a cold-blooded animal.”
Villanueva won’t appear back in court — in person or otherwise — until June 17.
Animal cruelty ‘not neglect’
A man convicted of keeping 69 cats in cages in the back of a U-Haul truck tried to claw his way out from under the guilty verdict last week by claiming his actions weren’t as bad as animal cruelty laws suggest.
Defense attorney Donald Yannella admitted that Steve Hock did indeed keep the cats in a locked U-Haul found at the corner of 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue back on Oct. 12, 2008, but did not “neglect to supply the animals with a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air, food, shelter and water,” as outlined in the criminal statute.
All he did was “impound or confine” the cats, which is also outlined in the charge.
Hock claims that the animals may have been locked in the back of a truck, but he did keep tabs on them and made sure they were fed.
Since there is no evidence that he had starved the cats, the entire animal cruelty charge against him should be rendered moot and the conviction vacated, Yannella claimed.
But Judge John Wilson didn’t see it that way.
In his March 31 decision, Wilson let the charge stand, claiming Hock was splitting hairs.
“It is inconceivable that the legislature intended that a person could provide an animal with three out of four of these necessities and not be guilty of the underlying crime,” he wrote.