• Emotions runs high as judge accepts plea in former NYPD officer's killing

    By: Jim Bradley

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Family and friends of former New York City police officer Jimmy LaRossa filled a Mecklenburg County courtroom Friday morning. They walked out frustrated after LaRossa's estranged wife was sentenced to three to five years in prison for his killing.

    "What happened in the courtroom was very frustrating for us," said Harvey Katowitz, who heads a group of former NYPD members who live in the Charlotte area. "Justice was not done."

    Carole LaRossa pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter charges. Her attorneys painted a portrait of an abusive relationship between the LaRossas and claimed both had substance abuse problems.

    Prosecutors said there was evidence from stab wounds to Carole LaRossa's breast that she had been attacked by her ex-husband. They admitted that Carole LaRossa had offered different versions of what happened the night of April 10, 2012.

    "Each of her versions as she described them included the aspect that she had acted in self-defense, that she was under threat from Mr. LaRossa," said prosecutor Bill Stetzer.

    Jimmy LaRossa's supporters criticized the investigation of the case and said evidence wasn't considered. Prosecutors and the judge disputed that. In fact the judge said that because of the number of letters he received from Jimmy LaRossa's family and friends, he took the extraordinary step of meeting with prosecutors and defense attorneys to go over the evidence each had collected.

    "They talked about the evidence and the strengths and weaknesses of the case," said Superior Court Judge Robert Bell. "After talking with them I am satisfied that this resolution is appropriate."

    It wasn't enough to satisfy Jimmy LaRossa's niece Lauren Cox.

    "My uncle is not the monster he's been made out to be," Cox said. "He deserved better than this."

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