Photo credit: New York Police Department
A remorseless Queens man who “played” mental illness as a defense for repeatedly stabbing three NYPD officers — paralyzing one cop and taking out his eye in the attack — was hit with 54 years to life in prison Thursday as prosecutors played a call he made the day after his conviction in which the only sorrow he expressed was that he had not taken the cop’s other eye.
“I’m still not guilty…I didn’t finished the job, I should have taken his other eye out,” Neil Perriera says in the chilling call from Rikers Island that was played in court.
“How dare he! How dare he! Your honor I ask you sentence him to the maximum and the last thing he hears for eternity is don’t mess with the New York City Police Department!” insisted prosecutor Schlomit Metz.
Some 100 uniformed and plainclothes NYPD officers packed the courtroom in support of Officer Timothy Smith, who sat in a wheelchair.
Perreira stabbed Smith in the eye and chest repeatedly inside his Far Rockaway home on Jan. 15, 2009. Smith and fellow officers Daniel Sjoberg and Edward Simon answered a radio call for an emotionally disturbed Perriera, who was armed with a knife.
“Because of this defendant, none of us will ever have the privilege to work alongside Timmy again. I don’t forgive you, I can’t wait to forget you, the fact that you are in this courtroom with Sgt. Smith is a tragedy,” said Officer Simon. The 39-year-old Guyana native was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, assault on a police officer and other charges.
“Throughout this trial, we got no answers as to why this all happened, all we got was a clear understanding that he just hates the police,” said Metz before Perriera was sentenced for the Jan. 15, 2009 attack inside his Far Rockaway home.
Smith’s Taser failed as Perriera charged towards him, knifing him in the left eye and chest and injuring Sjoberg and Simon during the struggle, said Queens DA Richard Brown.
“Sgt. Smith and all responding officer’s lives won’t be the same because of this vicious and unprovoked attack…I’ve had many sleepless nights because of the unanswered questions from what happened,” said Officer Peter Cacciatore, who spoke on behalf of Smith and helped aide him and held the eye, which was out of it’s socket.
Perriera’s attorney Verena Powell argued for leniency from Justice Barry Schwartz during the sentencing because her client suffered mental illness since 2001 and needs Zyprexa to treat his paranoid schizophrenia.
“There’s no such thing as selective schizophrenia…prison is the only safe place from him. He told doctors how he learned how to play the system, he’s a threat to society and all officers in the country,” said Metz who ran down for the court Perreira’s history of violent run-ins with police as far away as Johnson City, Tenn.
“I don’t doubt he has mental problems, but the jury has rejected his defense of mental insanity,” said Judge Schwartz. “The motivation for this horrible crime was clear — Neil Perriera hates cops.”
Republished with permission of The New York Post