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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: To avoid arrest
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: September 10, 2004
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: October 10, 1975
Victims profile: Robert Parker and Patrick Rafferty (NYPD detectives)
Method of murder: Shooting (9mm Glock)
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to two life sentences without parole on February 27, 2006

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Marlon Legere (born October 10, 1975), a Trinidadian-American from New York, is the convicted murderer of NYPD detectives Robert Parker and Patrick Rafferty.

The murder

On September 10, 2004, Marlon Legere's mother Melva placed a call to the 67th precinct in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. She was seeking the help of detectives Robert Parker and Patrick Rafferty, whom she knew from earlier incidents with her abusive son.

Melva Legere said she feared her son--an unemployed ex-convict who had previously done time in Greene and Sing Sing prisons for sexual assault, attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, and attempted assault--might try to take her car from her.

Seeing Marlon Legere on East 49th Street sitting in his mother's Mazda 626, the two detectives drove the wrong way down the street and boxed in Legere with their car so he could not drive off. Neither detective was wearing a bulletproof vest.

The detectives exited their vehicle and approached Legere from both sides of his mother's car. Legere somehow obtained Parker's 9mm Glock and shot both officers four times each, mortally wounding them. Legere would later tell police: "When they tried to grab me, I wouldn't let them. I grabbed their gun and I shot them."

Before passing out, Rafferty managed to shoot Legere in the foot and the ankle. At the same time Parker dialed 911 on his cell phone and was able to calmly describe the situation and identify his attacker to the operator. "I have a photo of the guy who shot me on my dashboard," he said. Both detectives were still alive when ambulances showed up, but did not survive the trip to the hospital.

Flight and capture

After being shot by Rafferty, Marlon Legere, still bearing Parker's service weapon, hobbled into the street and carjacked Omar Harvey out of his Mercury Villager minivan. Legere drove twelve blocks to the apartment of a female acquaintance, where he tried to get rid of Parker's gun.

Police took him into custody two hours later, when a neighbor saw Legere lying down and bleeding on the apartment's fire escape. Parker's gun was recovered from a lot behind the building.

Trial and afterwards

On September 13, 2004, prosecutors filed first degree murder charges against Legere. When the case went to trial, Legere pleaded not guilty but declined to take the stand in his defense. His attorneys' strategy was to portray the crime as an attempt at self-defense, arguing that Legere thought he was being robbed. The detectives were in plainclothes and driving an unmarked car at the time.

According to defense attorney Ivan Vogel: "It's a combination of self defense and just a tragic situation where the circumstances unraveled ... Mr. Legere was fighting for his life."

The jury deliberated only one day. Legere was convicted and on February 27, 2006, received two life sentences without parole for the first-degree murder charges, 25 years for a first-degree robbery charge, and one year for a fourth-degree criminal mischief charge.

Many New Yorkers, especially police officers, were bitterly disappointed that Legere was not eligible for the death penalty (New York's capital punishment statute had been overturned just three months before).

As of February 2006, Legere is incarcerated in Clinton Correctional Facility, in Dannemora, New York.

Remaining question

No one is entirely sure how Legere was able to take Parker's Glock 19 from him. If the detective had his gun already drawn, Legere may simply have wrestled it away. If not, he might have pulled it from Parker's holster himself.

Though the NYPD typically issues its officers with retention holsters, it is unknown if Parker was wearing one.


In Front of Friends and Relatives of Victims, Killer of 2 Detectives Gets Life Without Parole

By Michael Brick - The New York Times

February 23, 2006

For the murders of two detectives answering a call from his mother, Marlon Legere was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Stuttering and slouching, Mr. Legere blamed his lawyers for his conviction. Justice Anne G. Feldman rebuked him and ordered the maximum penalty.

The sentencing punctuated a monthlong trial attended at times by scores of police officers and at nearly all times by the detectives' friends and relatives, a loyal front-row audience for dry procedural details, gruesome forensic accountings and uncomfortable witness-stand moments alike.

Mr. Legere, 30, was convicted of first-degree murder this month for killing the detectives, Patrick H. Rafferty and Robert L. Parker, on a street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, on Sept. 10, 2004. The detectives were responding to a call from Mr. Legere's mother, who had complained to the police for months that her son was taking her car without permission.

Mr. Legere was sitting in his mother's car when the detectives approached. He took Detective Parker's gun and shot each man four times, then ran away and stole a van. As he escaped, the mortally wounded detectives put a bullet through his foot and told an emergency officer where to find his photograph.

At trial, Mr. Legere's lawyers suggested that he was unaware that his mother had called the police and instead thought he was being robbed. Prosecution witnesses included dozens of crime scene investigators, the wife of Detective Rafferty, the mother of Detective Parker's child, Mr. Legere's mother, his former girlfriend and a teenage boy who admired him. A jury convicted him in less than a day.

The sentencing was held in one of two ceremonial courtrooms in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. The room was filled to its capacity of 164 by rows of detectives in suits and uniformed officers wearing the metallic lapel pins of the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush. The other ceremonial courtroom next door, where the trial had taken place, was being used for a rape and murder case that Detective Rafferty had helped bring to court.

Mr. Legere limped in on a wooden cane, dressed in a brown shirt, a pale tie and the outsize black glasses he had worn throughout the trial. His handcuffs were removed, and he slowly sank into a wooden chair.

The lead prosecutor, Mitchell C. Benson, sounded somber tones, gesturing woodenly, glancing at notes, the anger gone from his voice and replaced by melancholy. He spoke of loss. He did not use the defendant's name. He called him "the defendant."

"The defendant would not be alive if they had meant to harm him," Mr. Benson said. "They approached him carefully, not with guns. They got up close to try to protect the mother."

Mr. Benson mentioned Mr. Legere's prior felony convictions and said: "They were giving him a chance. One last chance he shouldn't have had."

The families of the detectives were given a chance to summarize their losses. Mr. Legere, who stared forward through much of the trial, even during his mother's testimony, turned to face them halfway.

Dawn Stewart-Riles, a friend of Detective Parker's since childhood, spoke of long-ago games of superhero and detective, saying, "I was always his damsel in distress."

"Mr. Legere, life is a gift from God," Ms. Stewart-Riles said. "It is very precious, and no man has the right to take a life."

Mr. Legere rubbed his eyes and removed his glasses.

Brian Rafferty, a brother of Detective Rafferty, said his family had received its sentence on the night of the shooting: "We were sentenced to life without Patrick."

He turned and addressed Mr. Legere directly: "The very air you breathe is rightfully the property of my brother, Detective Patrick Rafferty, and his partner, Detective Robert Parker. You will remember that until you have taken your last breath."

A lawyer for Mr. Legere, Wayne C. Bodden, told Justice Feldman that his client had privately and repeatedly expressed remorse. Then Mr. Legere stood. Five of the 15 court officers in the room gathered around him.

"I want to send my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the slain officers," Mr. Legere said. He added that he had wanted to testify but was advised against it by his lawyers, who "didn't properly represent me."

"I'm not an angel," Mr. Legere said, "but I'm not a killer either."

Justice Feldman reminded Mr. Legere that she had given him a chance to testify and said his lawyers had represented him perfectly well. She said blaming the lawyers was similar to blaming his mother for the shooting, which Mr. Legere did in one of his statements to the police.

As Justice Feldman spoke, Mr. Legere covered his eyes with his hands. When she was done, he stood up and put his hands on the defense table. A leather restraint was placed around his waist. His right hand was cuffed, then his left. He was offered his glasses, but he waved them away. He was led out a side door, and then he was gone.

Outside the courtroom, Detective Rafferty's mother said she hoped never to see Mr. Legere again. Detective Rafferty's children, Kara, Kevin and Emma Rose, were nowhere around. It was their father's 41st birthday this week, and their mother, Eileen, took the children skiing to celebrate.

Mr. Legere's mother did not attend either.


Police Killed With Their Own Guns

by Jaime Adame -

September 2004

New York City Police Detectives Robert Parker and Patrick Rafferty were shot and killed in East Flatbush on September 10th, allegedly after a suspect, Marlon Legere, 28, grabbed Parker’s gun and used it to shoot both detectives several times at close range.

It is a scenario that, while not commonplace, happens with enough frequency to alarm law enforcement professionals nationwide. Last year, 10 police officers were shot and killed in the United States after a suspect managed to get control of an officer’s weapon. Nearly one in five officers killed as part of a crime last year were shot with their own (or a partner’s) weapon, according to the National Center for Law Enforcement Technology - the highest number of such deaths in 18 years.

New York has been fortunate to have few of these incidents. Before this month’s shooting, the last incident of an officer being killed with his own weapon occurred in the city in 1998. Still, the recent deaths reinforce the danger of being a cop in New York and raise questions about how to best protect officers in the future.

Training and Equipment

So far this year five officers in the U.S. have been shot and killed with their own weapons, including Parker and Rafferty.

One way to address the issue is through regular training. All New York police officers attend mandatory defensive tactics training sessions twice a year that help officers prepare for a variety of violent encounters with suspects. The sessions, which usually last about a day, focus in part on weapon retention.

Even with substantial training, however, the danger is always present. To further protect officers, safety holsters – gun holders with a variety of mechanisms to help “lock” a gun in place – began to be developed in the 1970s. However there are trade-offs: Features that make it more difficult to disarm an officer can also slow down an officer’s ability to draw.

And while uniformed patrol officers in New York routinely wear such safety holsters, plain-clothes detectives wear holsters that are easier to conceal. Police say Parker was wearing an off-duty hip holster, which typically does not have safety features. Neither Parker nor Rafferty were wearing bulletproof vests when they were shot.

New Gun Technology

Recognizing the need to protect officers from being shot with their own weapons, the federal government has spent millions of dollars in research on personalized weapons that can only be fired by their owner.

Ideas range from a ring worn by the user that unlocks the weapon to sophisticated biometric sensors designed to recognize a gun owner's grip. But the reliable technology still remains years away.

Even if “safer” guns are ever mass-produced and sold, they may not meet the demands of law enforcement. New Jersey passed a law in 2002 that will make user-recognition technology mandatory once it’s developed, but law enforcement officers were specifically excluded from the law. Police are understandably unwilling to carry a weapon they believe may not fire when they need it.

Not A Capital Case

Under New York's death penalty law, anyone who murders a police officer can face the death penalty.

But in June, New York highest court ruled that the state's death penalty law was flawed and could not be imposed. Until the State Legislature adopts an amended law, prosecutors and defense lawyers argue that there is effectively a moratorium on capital cases.

Police union officials are angered that the death penalty will not be sought for Marlon Legere, who has entered a “not guilty” plea in the shooting of the two officers last week.

In 1989, Jay “Stoney” Harrison, the last person to shoot two officers in New York, also used an officer’s handgun. Harrison took a gun from an unlocked locker at a District Attorney’s office and shot Detectives Richard Guerzon and Keith Williams. The death penalty was not in effect at the time.

Unanswered Questions

The deaths of the two officers Parker, 43, and Rafferty, 39, are tragic, and colleagues have been effusive in their praise of the detectives.

In the online tribute page to fallen law enforcement officers, some colleagues have left poignant and heartfelt tributes for both officers.

“Their reputation preceded them in the area, in the neighborhood,” Michael J. Palladino, the president of the Detectives Endowment Association told The New York Times. “They were well-known, well-respected guys.”

Police say they may never know exactly how the suspect was able to get Parker’s gun; Parker may have even had his gun already drawn and the suspect somehow wrestled it away, or he may have grabbed it from Parker’s holster.

What is known is that Parker showed enough presence of mind after being mortally wounded to call 911 and describe the shooter.


Police Say Suspect in the Killing of Two Detectives Fired Seven Times at Close Range

By Shaila K. Dewan - The New York Times

September 14, 2004

As the wounded suspect in the killing of two police detectives was brought into a courtroom in a wheelchair to be arraigned on murder charges, details emerged yesterday that painted the fatal shootings in Brooklyn on Friday as an intense, sudden burst of aggression.

All seven rounds that were fired by the suspect, Marlon Legere, 28, hit the detectives at close range, the police said. One, Detective Robert Parker, was hit twice in the chest and twice in the right leg. The other, Detective Patrick Rafferty, was also hit twice in the chest. A third bullet pierced his right leg and entered his left thigh.

Detective Rafferty squeezed off one round, hitting Mr. Legere in the left foot and right ankle.

The bullets that hit the two detectives were fired from Detective Parker's 9-millimeter Glock pistol, which the police say Mr. Legere wrested away from him. But it was still not clear precisely how Mr. Legere had gotten hold of the gun, and with the two closest witnesses dead, the police said yesterday that they might never find out.

Detective Parker, who worked in a suit and tie, was wearing an off-duty holster, a police official said. The holsters worn by uniformed police officers have safety release buttons that must be pressed to remove a gun. But off-duty holsters can be of many types, including a common one that fits inside the waistband and clips onto a belt, and is popular because it is somewhat concealed yet easy to access. It normally does not have a safety release button.

Police officials have not said exactly what kind of holster Detective Parker was wearing, but they have noted that Mr. Legere was seated in a car when Detective Parker approached him, which would have put Mr. Legere at about waist level. It is also possible that the detective had already drawn his gun when Mr. Legere went for it.

The two detectives were responding to a call from Mr. Legere's mother, who had filed a complaint against him months earlier. When they approached Mr. Legere, he was in his mother's car, which she had accused him of taking without her permission. He refused their requests to turn off the ignition and get out of the car, the police have said, and a struggle ensued that ended with Mr. Legere shooting the two detectives.

Mr. Legere was arraigned yesterday in Criminal Court in Brooklyn on charges of first- and second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and criminal possession of a weapon. He pleaded not guilty. The judge, William L. McGuire Jr., denied him bail.

In a courtroom packed with police officers in uniform, the prosecutor, Kenneth Taub, said he knew both victims - Detective Parker for 15 years. Detectives and prosecutors often work together on cases. Asked by reporters if his acquaintance with the victims would affect his prosecution of the case, Mr. Taub said, "It has an impact."

The case will be presented to a grand jury.

Wayne C. Bodden, Mr. Legere's lawyer, said his client was "not in any condition to aid me in his defense" and it was too soon to make further comment.

"He hasn't eaten and his handcuffs were extremely tight, to the extent that they were cutting off his circulation," Mr. Bodden said. He said his client had told him that he had not been fed and was sleep-deprived from a combination of physical discomfort and questioning by investigators.

He said any statements his client may have made to the police could be challenged because of Mr. Legere's physical condition.


For Police Officers, Two Deaths Compound the Pain

By Shaila K. Dewan - The New York Times

September 12, 2004

Detective Bobby Parker followed his calling to the end. As he lay dying on a Brooklyn street on Friday night, he managed to call 911 and tell the operator that the man who had shot him and his fellow detective, Patrick Rafferty, was pictured in a mug shot on the dashboard of their car.

That same mug shot was soon being distributed by police officers in their exhaustive manhunt for the suspect, who was apprehended shortly after the shooting.

Detective Parker, a teddy-bearish 6-foot-4 former wrestler, and Detective Rafferty, a Long Islander who took his three children on camping trips - were killed in a confrontation with a suspect whose mother had come to the precinct because she was frightened of her sometimes violent son. In the ensuing struggle, the son, Marlon Legere, took Detective Parker's gun and used it to shoot them both, a law enforcement official said.

Mr. Legere, 28, was shot in his left foot and right ankle, the police said.

A repeat felon, he could face two counts of first-degree murder, said Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes.

The deaths meant that the city's police officers woke to a morning of compounded grief: the third anniversary of the death of 23 officers at the World Trade Center and the fresher wound of the loss of two more.

After staying at Kings County Hospital Center, where the two detectives had been taken after the shooting, until after 3 a.m. yesterday, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly appeared before 8 a.m. at ground zero, where he stood near the podium listening to the names of the World Trade Center terrorism victims read aloud by family members.

Commissioner Kelly did not answer questions from reporters, but issued a written statement that said, "In honoring our officers killed in the extraordinary attack on the World Trade Center three years ago, we are reminded by the deaths of Detective Robert Parker and Detective Patrick Rafferty that our police officers are prepared to give their lives in the day-to-day protection of the people of New York."

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who spoke at the Sept. 11 memorial service, said that just as the city was tested on Sept. 11, 2001, it was tested again on Friday night in the streets of Brooklyn. "This is a war against the bad people of the world,'' the mayor said.

Detective Parker was a 22-year veteran described as a "fixture" in East Flatbush, where he had served at the 67th Precinct for some 15 years. Detective Rafferty was an up-and-comer with 15 years on the force. He was sort of an understated "Clark Kent with Superman underneath," said one of his superior officers in Brooklyn South, Deputy Inspector Vincent Di Donato. Together, the two men had made about 900 arrests - Detective Parker almost 500 and Detective Rafferty about 400, the police said. Detective Parker, 43, had reached the coveted rank of second-grade detective.

"Their reputation preceded them in the area, in the neighborhood," said Michael J. Palladino, the president of the detectives' union. "They were well-known, well-respected guys."

Detective Rafferty, 39, lived in Bay Shore with his wife, Eileen, and children: Kara, 12, Kevin, 8, and Emma, 5. "He was one of those guys who was just proud as hell to be a cop," said a close friend, John Triandafils, a retired police officer and neighbor. "You knew he was behind you."

Friends said Detective Rafferty had been able to insulate his family from the dangers and stresses of his job - until Friday night. When neighbors heard his son scream and saw police officers in the driveway, many knew what had happened.

"He was like a lot of cops," Mr. Triandafils said. "They tend to others while they're bleeding to death."

Detective Parker, who friends said was divorced, was remembered as a consummate interrogator who once bonded with a suspect who was a "Star Trek" fan. Deputy Inspector Di Donato recalled how the detective had put his hand to the young man's temple and said he was doing a "Vulcan mind meld." He then told the suspect that he had read his mind and knew he was guilty. The suspect confessed to murder.

Detective Parker lived in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn with several cats, the inspector said. Yesterday, three sisters of a woman who had dated Detective Parker for 12 years came to lay flowers at the scene of the crime. The fourth sister was out of town, they said.

"He was like a big teddy bear," said Diane Olatunde, 49, one of the sisters. "The kids called him 'Uncle Robert.' " She said that even though he and her sister had stopped dating, Detective Parker would still drop by her mother's house to have a cup of tea and chat.

The events leading up to the shooting began in May, when Mr. Legere's mother, Melvere, complained that her son had broken a mirror in her house, threatened her and demanded the keys to her car, which she surrendered. Detective Parker was assigned to the case. Over the summer, he worked with Ms. Legere, of 519 East 49 Street, trying to apprehend her son.

On Friday, the police said, Ms. Legere came to the precinct and left word that her son had come home. When Detective Parker arrived for the 4 p.m. shift, he went to the house, but Mr. Legere was gone. Detective Parker and Detective Rafferty began to search the neighborhood, and at about 8:30 p.m. Ms. Legere told them by phone that he was home again, in her car, a blue Mazda with tinted windows, in front of the house, according to a senior police official.

The two detectives blocked the Mazda with their car. Detective Rafferty approached the passenger side, and Detective Parker the driver's side, where he told Mr. Legere to turn off the ignition and get out of the car, the official said. Mr. Legere refused, and an argument followed that soon escalated into a physical struggle, the official said, stressing that investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened.

At some point, Detective Rafferty went around the car to join his partner, the police said. The door to the car was open. Gunfire rang out.

Investigators believe at least eight bullets were fired - seven from Detective Parker's gun and one from Detective Rafferty's. It was not clear if Detective Parker had drawn his own gun, a 9-millimeter Glock that he wore in a hip holster, before Mr. Legere wrestled it away.

Mr. Legere's wounds could have been caused by a single bullet that passed through his left foot and right ankle, the police said. Autopsies on the two officers were not completed as of yesterday afternoon, but the police official said each had been hit more than once.

The detectives were not wearing bulletproof vests when they were shot. Police officers in uniform are required to wear vests, but detectives, who usually are in street clothes, have discretion, the official said.

Mr. Legere has a history of violence. He has been arrested nine times and has served prison time for first-degree sex abuse, attempted assault and an attempted drug sale. He was last released from prison in March, according to state prison records.

New York State law allows for the death penalty when a law-enforcement officer is murdered. But in June, New York's highest court ruled unconstitutional a certain provision of the death penalty that requires a judge to tell a jury that if it does not choose the death penalty the defendant could be eligible for parole after 25 years.

Mr. Schmetterer, the spokesman for District Attorney Hynes, said the case would be reviewed by a committee that makes recommendations on seeking the death penalty. But, he added, "It's the district attorney's opinion that right now the most serious punishment available is life without parole. There is no viable death penalty statue in effect today."

After the shooting, witnesses told the police, Mr. Legere left the car screaming in pain and staggered to the corner. Using Detective Parker's gun, investigators believe, he hijacked a minivan and fled, dumping the van at 622 Brooklyn Avenue, where he had acquaintances. But when his friends sensed he was in trouble, they turned him away, the police official said. Another resident called 911, and the police arrested him and took him to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center.

Detective Parker's gun was later found behind the Brooklyn Avenue building.



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