By Sadef Ali Kully
Retired NYPD Sgt. Raymond Moore, the father of slain Detective Brian Moore, did not take his eyes off of Demetrius Blackwell, the accused gunman in his son’s death, during Blackwell’s June 11 arraignment at Queens Supreme Criminal Court in Kew Gardens.
The arraignment followed a grand jury indictment charging the Blackwell with 12 counts of murder and aggravated murder, among other related charges, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Blackwell was brought into the courtroom in shackles and stood next to his attorney, David Bart, before Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas. The indictment charged Blackwell with first-degree murder, aggravated murder, attempted murder, aggravated attempted murder, unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a weapon, controlled substance and stolen property.
Police said the 25-year old Moore and his partner Erik Jansen, in plainclothes from the 105th Precinct’s anti-crime unit, were on patrol after 6 p.m. in an unmarked car May 2 when both officers saw Blackwell adjusting his waistband and attempted to question him in Queens Village near 104th Road. Blackwell allegedly reacted by firing several shots while the officers were still inside their vehicle, striking Moore twice in the head, prosecutors said. He died May 4, but his partner was unharmed.
Afterward, Blackwell, who is 35, allegedly stole clothing to alter his appearance, the authorities said. He was also found with cocaine and marijuana, the DA said.
In one row, Blackwell’s wife, brother, aunt and uncle tucked themselves in a corner. The rest of the gallery was filled with NYPD officers and supporters, including PBA leader Pat Lynch. Some supporters wore T-shirts that said “In memory of P.O. Brian Moore—End of watch 5/04/15.”
“The defendant’s alleged actions are a direct attack on society and the law,” Brown said during a news conference before the arriagnment . “[It] reminds us of the dangers that our police officers face each day—and the ultimate sacrifice they may be called upon to make.”
Blackwell pleaded not guilty to all charges and his attorney said he would use the defense of not guilty by mental disease or defect. He also asked for Blackwell’s interrogation video and other evidence related to the case.
Outside the courthouse, Lynch told the press, “You can imagine what it’s like for that father who is a retired police officer to have to sit in that courtroom, restrain himself.”
He added, “Any one of us would want to leap over that bar and grab him by his throat, but he’s a professional and these officers are here to make sure justice is done.”
Lynch also claimed that Blackwell was known as a “hell-raiser” and career criminal in his neighborhood.
Blackwell’s uncle and brother said Blackwell suffered from epilepsy and had brain surgery but were not specific about the details.
Bart, Blackwell’s attorney, called Lynch’s comments “ridiculous, over the top. If he wants to prevent Mr. Blackwell from getting a fair trial, he can try to do that, but he is not a career criminal.”
The attorney went on to say that “just because I am pursuing a mental disease or defect does not mean I won’t be looking at all the evidence,” Bart said. “From what I understand it changed him dramatically, how deeply and what it meant is what the medical records will reflect.”
Blackwell’s uncle, Jamie Taylor, said, “It’s a devastating time for his family.”
Blackwell, who has been held without bail since his initial arrest May 2, faces a sentence of up to life in prison with no possibility of parole if convicted.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull