U.S. Marshals Kill Suspected Cop Killer
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
By Robert A. Baker, Glenn Coin and Delen Goldberg
The man accused of killing a New Hartford police officer Monday was shot dead Tuesday night in a Pennsylvania home, police in Delaware County, Pa., said.
Police said Walter R. Richardson, 36, died from a gunshot wound inflicted by U.S. marshals. Authorities raided a home in Chester, about 15 miles south of Philadelphia, late Tuesday searching for Richardson, the man police believe fired the shot that killed New Hartford police Officer Joe Corr.
A marshal shot in the exchange was not seriously injured and was treated at the scene, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.
A second suspect, John T. Healy, 46, of the Bronx,, was arrested Monday and arraigned on a murder charge Tuesday.
Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri said
police and FBI agents are investigating whether the two suspects - neither of whom is from Central New York - had committed other robberies. Authorities also want to find out whether any other people were involved in Monday's robbery.
"We are looking into the possibility that this was a group that did these types of robberies in other places," Arcuri said. "The FBI is trying to identify similar types of crimes in other areas."
Corr, 30,died Monday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center from a single gunshot wound to the neck, police said. Corr was one of several officers pursuing the suspects in a car after an armed robbery Monday night at Lennon's-W.B. Wilcox Jewelers in New Hartford.
"Joe didn't hesitate," said New Hartford police Lt. Timothy O'Neill. "He put himself out there and paid the ultimate price."
Officers were tight-lipped about much of the ongoing investigation, but it appears Richardson commandeered a tow truck at gunpoint Monday night to make his escape.
Police on Monday followed a trail of blood to Kirkland Automotive, an auto repair shop about a block from where the suspects crashed their car and fled, said Bob Suskie, the shop's owner.
The police searched the shop, but found nothing, Suskie said. Then they asked if he was missing anything.
"I said, 'My tow truck's missing,' " said Suskie, who figured his driver was out on a call.
Suskie's driver finally called in at 5 a.m. from a phone booth in Pennsylvania, saying he'd been carjacked.
Arcuri would not confirm the getaway car was a tow truck.
"The vehicle is in Bethlehem, Pa., and we are making arrangements to bring the vehicle here," Arcuri said. "We will bring it directly to state police in Oneida and then transport it to Albany to have it extensively dusted for fingerprints and (tested for) DNA."
Healy was arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder. Both men have "a sizeable criminal history," said Arcuri.
Clad in an orange jumpsuit and with his hands shackled at his waist, Healy looked down during most of the five-minute arraignment hearing. He spoke only once, an incomprehensible mumble to Town Justice James VanSlyke.
His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Patrick Marthage, entered a plea of not guilty.
VanSlyke ordered Healy held in the Oneida County Jail without bail and set the next court date for 3:30 p.m. Friday.
U.S. Marshals Kill Suspected Cop Killer
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Although police don't believe Healy fired the shot that killed Corr, the law allows Healy to be charged with second-degree murder, if a murder happens in the commission of another crime.
"He was involved in a robbery, and during the course of that robbery a third party was killed," Arcuri said. "It makes it the same as intentional murder."
Healy faces 15 years to life in prison, Arcuri said.
Police wouldn'tsay much about what went on in the New Hartford jewelry store during the robbery. Guns were displayed, people were handcuffed and a variety of jewelry was taken and hasn't been recovered, police said.
There may have been more people involved than the two suspects, O'Neill said. The vehicle that crashed was "connected to them," O'Neill said, but he wouldn't elaborate on the connection to the two suspects.
In December, the FBI turned up the heat on a criminal ring called the Gatecutters Jewelry Crew. Since 2003, the gang has burglarized more than 50 jewelry stores of more than $5 million worth of merchandise in at least 10 East Coast states. That gang tends to target national, mall-based stores.
But that may not be the gang at work in the New Hartford robbery.
"At this time, we don't believe it is connected to the Gatecutters investigation," said Brian Nadeau, a supervisory special agent with the FBI.
As many as 200 police officers swarmed Kirkland Monday night, but by Tuesday the biggest crowd in town were the TV crews set up near Spaghetti Kettle, near the crash scene. The shooting was the topic at Breakfast at Tiffany's, an eatery about a block from where Corr was shot. People wanted to know how it could happen, said waitress Lynn Roberts.
"Everybody's answer here was the same - it doesn't happen here, it doesn't happen here," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Robert A. Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 470-3255. Glenn Coin can be reached at 470-3251 or email@example.com.