A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Dobbs Ferry resident Richard DiGuglielmo will have to serve out his 20 years to life sentence for the shooting of Charles Campbell outside his family’s deli.
The court rejected the former New York City police officer’s bid to overturn the 1996 second degree murder conviction—which found that DiGuglielmo’s didn’t intentionally kill the White Plains sanitation worker, but showed a “depraved indifference to human life.”
The federal appeals court found that DiGuglielmo would still have been found guilty regardless of whether jurors knew that some of the witnesses’ claimed that police coerced them into altering their stories.
“Even in the light of the ‘newly discovered’ evidence, a reasonable trier of fact could find that Petitioner did not reasonably believe that Charles Campbell was using or about to use deadly physical force at the moment Petitioner fatally shot Campbell, in the light of the trial testimony of Zach Connett and Matthew Kay indicating that, at the moment Petitioner fatally shot Campbell, Campbell was not standing close enough to anyone to readily inflict deadly force with the baseball bat he was holding,” the decision says.
Campbell’s death started out as an argument with DiGuglielmo’s father and brother-in-law over parking.
Campbell parked in front of Dobbs Ferry's then walked across the street to buy a slice of pizza. During the argument, the father and brother-in-law attempted to subdue Campbell who returned with a bat and struck the father. DiGulglielmo then retrieved his gun and fatally shot Campbell several times. At the time, DiGuglielmo testified his action was that of a police officer who was trying to protect his father from a bat-wielding Campbell. Prosecution maintained it was murder; and the jury agreed.
In 2008, Rory J. Bellantoni of Westchester County Court ruled to release DiGuglielmo based on that police and prosecutors had mishandled witnesses to the crime.
DiGuglielmo, who had been in prison since 1997, was set free from prison for 18 months before a panel of four appellate judges ruled in May, 2010 that despite any mistreatment of witnesses, their testimonies should still be upheld in court.
and in May 2011 appealed to New York's highest court to have the conviction overturned based on new evidence that showed police pressured witnesses to change their statements during the original trial in 1996.