State Troopers PBA President Daniel M. De Federicis, First Vice President Thomas Mungeer, Troop A Delegate & Secretary John P. Moretti Jr., and NCO-West Delegate & Treasurer Robert P. Hovey attended the sentencing of Trooper murderer Ralph Phillips today.
The PBA would like to reiterate, once again, that the harshest sentence imposed on Phillips – life in prison without the possibility of parole – is the best possible outcome under the confines of the available sentencing laws.
“It is a travesty that this state still doesn’t have a death penalty. Violent criminals continue to shoot and kill our police officers knowing that there is no death penalty,” De Federicis said. “The New York State Legislature must pass a death penalty law that will withstand Constitutional challenges this year. Our Troopers and police officers across the state, who put their lives on the line every day, deserve to know that they are fully supported by our elected officials.”
The PBA would like to thank all of the Troopers and Investigators who packed the courtroom today, as well as members from numerous other law enforcement agencies, including the Pennsylvania State Police.
Below is an article from the Times Union newspaper on Tuesday about the sentencing.
Phillips sentenced to life in prison
Man who shot two state troopers, killing one, apologizes to victims’ families in courtroom
MAYVILLE — A judge in this Chautauqua County village sentenced Ralph “Bucky” Phillips this morning to life in prison for shooting two state troopers, killing one.
In November, Phillips, 44, admitted he shot troopers Joseph Longobardo, 32, of Greenfield and Donald Baker Jr., 38, of Halfmoon. Longobardo later died of his injuries and Baker is recovering from his wounds.
This morning, Phillips told a packed courtroom, “I’d like to apologize for the families in this — Longobardo’s and Trooper Baker’s family. As I said before, I never meant to kill anybody.”
Outside, State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett called the apology disingenuous, noting Phillips did not turn around to face the family when he spoke.
When the killer left the courtroom, Bennett said, he indicated to state police that he would be back.
Both Baker’s wife, Tracy, and Longobardo’s widow, Teri, were in the courtroom but neither spoke. They submitted victim impact statements, which were neither read aloud nor made immediately available to the media.
No one else offered a statement.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Kloch Sr. sentenced Phillips to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing Longobardo and 40 years to life for shooting Baker.
He also denied Phillips’ request to withdraw his guilty pleas in the shootings as well as his request to fire his court-appointed attorney, Richard Rich Jr. of Chemung County.
Kloch said he had not received the motions in his office and that Phillips had indicated when he pleaded guilty last month that he had reason to believe Longobardo and Baker were police officers when he shot them.
Among the 130 people filling the courtroom was a phalanx of police, including 15 uniformed state troopers as well as Chautauqua County sheriff’s deputies, Pennsylvania state troopers and state Department of Environmental Conservation officers.
Only a few Phillips supporters, including his younger sister, Mitty Cornelius, found spaces in the room. Others joined the overflow in a nearby room, watching the proceedings on a video feed.
Among those turned away were Phillips’ ex-girlfriend, Kasey Crowe, and their daughter, Patrina Gloss.
Both face charges for helping Phillips while he was on the run. Those charges are expected to be dropped as part of the memorandum of agreement in exchange for Phillips’ guilty pleas.
During sentencing, Kloch chided Phillips for his actions, and said he would be forgotten within a few days.
Afterward, Cornelius said, “It’s not over, we’re not done. We’re not just going to send him away and be forgotten.”
Longobardo and Baker were shot while staking out Crowe’s house during the manhunt — the state’s largest ever — formed to capture Phillips after he broke out of Erie County Jail in April and shot Trooper Sean Brown near Elmira in June.
Brown has recovered and returned to work.
At 2 this afternoon, Phillips and Kloch will meet again, this time in an Erie County courtroom.
There, Kloch could hand Phillips a second life sentence for the jail escape. That crime normally carries a shorter sentence, but the punishment can be life in prison for a repeat felon.
Phillips will be in Chemung County Court in Elmira on Wednesday for sentencing on four counts, including aggravated attempted murder, for shooting Brown.
There, the man who has spent much of his life in jail or prison is expected to receive another life sentence.
Phillips had been on the run for five months when police caught up with him Sept. 8 in a cornfield in Pennsylvania, just over the New York line.