Authors: Gary Hastings
Whitaker remained speechless. Pat threw one last dagger. “Well, was it?”
Whitaker turned and walked away without saying a word.
Monday, June 6 - Day 139
NYPD Press Room - One Police Plaza
Borough of Manhattan, New York
at met with the Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information (DCPI), Nancy Peters, along with Commissioner Longstreet and Chief of Department, Robert Conrad. The case was discussed in detail. The DCPI tried to talk about how to spin this investigation in order to do some damage control as to why the NYPD missed this in 2001. Pat would have no part of it, insisting that it be told exactly the way it happened. After some tense moments it was decided the DCPI would introduce Police Commissioner Longstreet, who would then introduce Pat, who would summarize the investigation.
The press room was crowded with reporters. He was pleased to see Margaret
Butelli with two younger ladies he assumed to be her daughters, seated near the front. Gloria Moses was seated near them. The task force members were seated at the back of the room. Pat was glad they were there. The DCPI started the briefing. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am Nancy Peters, Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information. I’m happy to say we have closed a major investigation. At this time, I’d like to introduce the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, Robert Longstreet.”
Commissioner Longstreet walked to the podium. He was wearing a navy, three-piece suit with his shiny gold, five-star Police Commissioner’s shield displayed in his suit pocket.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the press. We are pleased to announce major developments in a homicide investigation. The NYPD has worked tirelessly under the leadership of our Chief of Detectives in solving this crime. I commend our entire Detective Bureau and especially the members of the investigative task force assigned to this investigation. I will now ask our Chief of Detectives, Patrick O’Connor, to bring us up to date regarding this investigation.”
Pat walked to the podium.
“On September 8, 2001, Retired New York City Police Detective First Grade, Forrest Butelli, was brutally murdered. The body was discovered in a car in Central Park. It had been staged to appear as a suicide. The Butelli family refused to accept the death of this fine man as a suicide and persistently demanded justice from the NYPD.
After evaluating their concerns, an investigative task force was formed to re-examine Retired Detective
Butelli’s death. Through an extensive criminal investigation, we determined that his death was a murder committed by a retired New York State Court Officer, Harry Pittsford. Pittsford was killed in a shootout with the New Jersey State Police on January 31 of this year.
Our investigation determined that Pittsford also killed a well-known New York City attorney, Nathanial Moses, in a hit and run automobile incident, where he was run over and intentionally killed. We now know these deaths were ordered by a former New York City attorney, Daniel Pellegrino. We have also determined the motive for these crimes, and it goes to the very core of our criminal justice system.
Nathanial Moses was an honorable attorney, who played by the rules. He became concerned that certain cases handled by Daniel Pellegrino were consistently being dismissed in the Kings County Courts. Not knowing the depth of the corruption, he contacted Forest Butelli, seeking his assistance.
After his retirement from the NYPD, Mr.
Butelli operated a private investigative service known as Manhattan Investigations. He launched an investigation into these allegations and was successful in developing significant corroboration of the misconduct alleged by Attorney Moses. Unfortunately, Pellegrino became aware of his interest and plotted the cold-blooded murders of both Forrest Butelli and Nathanial Moses.
Daniel Pellegrino was no stranger to the NYPD. He was already wanted on charges of being an accessory after the fact to the murder of a New York City Police Detective Second Grade, Anthony P. Rodriguez,
last year. Pellegrino fled as a fugitive and left the country.
He returned to New York, under an assumed identity, and on Saturday evening, he was killed in a gun battle with the NYPD and the United States Secret Service. This reign of death is over.
I would like to echo the Police Commissioner’s praise for the members of this investigative task force, and I would also like to acknowledge the assistance provided in this investigation by the United States Marshal’s Service, the United States Secret Service and the police in Dedesfeltd, Germany. I will not be taking any questions at this point, because the investigation is continuing.”
Pat walked off the podium and headed back to his office. He called Maggie to check on her. She seemed to be handling the shooting well. He knew the press would eventually learn of his involvement and probably have something negative to say about their relationship. He didn’t care. Tonight, he would get the best night’s sleep in months.
Monday, July 10 - Day 174
The Steamboat Cafe
Borough of Manhattan, New York
t had been over a month since the press conference. Things were just starting to get back to normal. Tonight was a celebration of sorts, with most of the task force being there. The families of Forrest Butelli and Nathanial Moses were also invited. When Pat walked in, he could see that most of the people invited were in attendance. The owner, Sam Spicer, had put together a delicious buffet, and the jazz band had been augmented with Judy Carter sitting in with Warren Downing’s house-band. Pat brought his fancy gold trumpet and sat in with the band on a few numbers before dinner.
Maggie arrived just before dinner and Sam seated her at Pat’s table. Pat was so glad she was there. The shooting incident had brought them even closer together. Pat knew she was a special woman, indeed.
They enjoyed the New Orleans buffet, and after dinner, Sam served some of his famous New Orleans Pralines and Cream Ice Cream. It was soon time for the festivities to begin. Pat walked up to the microphone and began. “Good evening everyone. This is a special night for many reasons. We’re celebrating our successes, but also pausing to reflect on some very special people. I’d like to ask the family of Forrest Butelli to come forward.”
Butelli, her daughters, and their husbands came forward. One of the daughters was carrying a baby. Pat spoke in a warm tone. “Seven months ago, this remarkable woman came to me and expressed her concerns regarding the death of her husband, Retired Detective First Grade, Forrest Butelli. She wouldn’t accept it as a suicide, and we now know she was absolutely right. Not only did Forrest Butelli serve this city well, he continued his service with integrity in the private sector. It’s my honor to present to his family, the Chief of Detectives’ Award for Distinguished Service to the New York City Police Department.”
Everyone stood up and the applause was deafening. Margaret
Butelli and each of her daughters hugged and kissed Pat on the cheek. She made one parting, tearful, remark. “Thank you for restoring my husband’s honor. We’ll never forget you, Chief O’Connor.”
Gloria Moses and her family were also called to the podium. Pat again made remarks. “As police officers, we often end up on opposite sides of attorneys, although we both serve the same criminal justice system. We have different roles. Nathanial Moses believed in the integrity of our judicial system and was disturbed when others did not. He had the courage to come forward and ultimately gave his life for this courage. It’s my honor to present to his family the Chief of Detectives’ Award for Distinguished Service to the New York City Police Department. It is my regret these two fine gentlemen are not with us to receive them. I’m certain the members of these two families feel their presence here today. My thoughts and prayers are with these families forever.”
Again the crowd gave a standing ovation. Everyone was exuberant. Bryan Flannery proposed a toast. “Before we get on with the festivities, I’d like to propose a toast to the person most responsible for this case being solved. I salute the man who led us by example, our Chief of Detectives, Patrick O’Connor.”
There were strong “Here, Here’s” as they clinked their glasses together. Pat walked over to the bandstand and began playing George Gershwin’s “Strike up the Band.”
he Manhattan District Attorney ruled that the shooting death of Daniel Pellegrino by United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge, Maggie Parker, was lawful and ruled it a justifiable homicide. A similar finding was concluded by an administrative review conducted by Headquarters Inspectors of the United States Secret Service.
The Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD also ruled that Patrick O’Connor’s discharge of his weapon was lawful, and within the guidelines of the department. Maggie Parker was awarded the New York City Police Department Combat Cross for her actions involving Daniel Pellegrino.
The deaths of Retired Detective First Grade Forrest Butelli and Nathanial Moses were ruled homicides and were exceptionally cleared with the deaths of Harry Pittsford and Daniel Pellegrino.
Phyllis Duran relocated to Florida, where she put a $200,000 cash down payment on a nice house. Apparently, Harry Pittsford had a stash. Pat decided that the funding was between Phyllis and the IRS.
Former Kings County Assistant District Attorney Franklyn Donovan was never located.
The death of Judge Robert Fitzpatrick was ruled a homicide. The case was classified as exceptionally cleared with the deaths of the suspects, Harry Pittsford and Daniel Pellegrino.
Patrick O’Connor continues to serve the citizens of New York as Chief of Detectives.