Rejecting the testimony of three eye witnesses, a Nassau jury deliberated only one day before returning not guilty verdicts against an Amityville man accused of attempted murder, attempted assault, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief.
On its face, the case appeared strong. Two eye witnesses testified they knew Christopher Beatty for years and that on the night in question they argued with him from their bedroom window on the second floor of their house on Lent Avenue in Hempstead. This argument lasted approximately ten minutes as Beatty stood on the well-lit front lawn, daring one of them to come out and fight. They tried to call 911 but the phone lines had been cut, according to responding police officers.
The two testified that they watched an “irate” Beatty walk to his car which was parked in their driveway. He took something out from the car, walked back and pointed a shotgun at the window they were at. Beatty then fired multiple shots into the window, according to the intended male victim. He ducked just in time to avoid being struck.
A third witness said she heard multiple gunshots from her home across the street. She looked out and saw a man matching Beatty’s description, get into a car she recognized as Beatty’s white Jetta, which fled the scene quickly. A fourth witness testified that the day before the shooting, Beatty told her that he was going to see to it that his ex girlfriend’s new boyfriend is removed from the house.
Police at the scene recovered a sawed off shotgun nearby, which did not reveal any fingerprints. Bullet holes riddled the wall of the bedroom, and shotgun shells were recovered on the front lawn. Beatty, who was on parole at the time, fled the state for three weeks before surrendering to the police following an intensive manhunt.
The defense maintained throughout that it was not Beatty who fired the shots. During his three hour closing argument, Beatty’s attorney, William Petrillo, argued that this was a “premeditated frame job” on the part of Beatty’s ex girlfriend and her current boyfriend. He suggested that Beatty’s former girlfriend was concerned that Beatty would gain custody of their child. Petrillo pointed to inconsistencies in all of the witnesses accounts and argued that this rendered them unworthy of the jury’s belief. He explained that Beatty only fled out of fear that he was going to be “set up” by his ex-girlfriend.
The case was tried for two and one half weeks before County Court Judge Alan Honor of.
Bill Petrillo Wins Two Major Trials
Editor – Nassau Criminal Courts Bar Association Newsletter
Bill Petrillo is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the leading criminal trial lawyers in the area.
After a client was indicted for murder in the second degree as a result of a vehicular death, where the Manhattan D.A. refused to plea bargain, Bill took his case to trial and completely devastated the prosecution’s case by convincing the jury that the prosecution’s witnesses were honestly mistaken.
After thoroughly cross examining the prosecution’s witnesses, Bill called his own experts to the stand and then had his client testify. At the end of a three week trial, the jury took only eight hours to acquit Bill’s client of all eight Counts in the indictment.
In his next trial, where the top count was attempted murder in the second degree, Bill convinced a jury that the complaining witnesses had a motive to frame the defendant and, in fact, did so. This was a case where the client was a PFO and was looking at 25 years to life plus two years he owed to parole.
After a full day of summations and overnight jury deliberations, Bill’s client was found not guilty on all counts.
In both of these cases, the very skillful efforts of Bill Petrillo significantly altered the course of the lives of his clients.