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Opening Statements Heard For Two Men Charged In NYPD Officer's Death

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TWC News: Opening Statements Heard For Two Men Charged In NYPD Officer's Death
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Opening arguments were heard for two more defendants charged in the shooting death of a NYPD officer in Brooklyn, including the so-called ringleader. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office says Nelson Morales started the chain of events that led to the death of Officer Peter Figoski.

Figoski was part of the backup team when police responded to a burglary call on Pine Street in December 2011. He was shot and killed just after he arrived.

Although Morales didn't pull the trigger, prosecutor Kenneth Taub said he is just as responsible for the officer's death because he put the crew together to commit the robbery.

"They live in Ozone Park, Queens, just a mile or two away, and that's where this plan was hatched," Taub said.

Prosecutors say Morales took four buddies to his uncle's house to ambush a marijuana dealer who lived in the basement. They are expected to play parts of Morales' interrogation video. In it, they say he pretended to be a victim of the robbery and fingered Lamont Pride, who was found guilty in February of killing Figoski.

"He pulls out the gun on me again," Morales said in the video. "The black kid. He pulled out the gun. He put it to my head. He pulled me by my collar inside the house."

When Wayne Bodden, the attorney for Morales, got up to speak to the jury, he was quick, only taking about two minutes to lay out his defense.

"You will not hear evidence that Mr. Morales killed anyone," Bodden said. "You will not hear evidence that Mr. Morales burglarized anyone."

Another defendant, Ariel Tejada cut a deal with prosecutors to testify against the others.

A jury found alleged getaway driver Michael Velez not guilty of murder and burglary.

A fifth defendant, Kevin Santos, is on trial alongside Morales.

Figoski's family is expected to sit through the second trial and hear lots of the heartbreaking details about the officer's death all over again.

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