DEDHAM – In a courtroom awash with anger, remorse, pain and defiance, a Revere man today admitted he helped orchestrate the killing of an off-duty Revere police officer who was shot in the head and died in 2007 as his fiancée begged him to keep breathing.
Derek Lodie, 19, had faced up to life imprisonment when first charged with being an accessory before the fact of murder. But today he was instead given an eight- to 12-year sentence in a deal approved by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Lodie’s defense attorney, J.W. Carney Jr.
Revere Police Officer Daniel Talbot was shot in the head while near the baseball field adjacent to Revere High School around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2007. With him at the time was his fiancée, Constance Bethell and three other Revere police officers. The police were off-duty and drinking beer in the park at the time, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin said in court today.
Lodie admitted to Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady that he used his cell phone to summon the alleged shooter, Robert Iacoviello Jr., from a nearby housing development after Talbot taunted him for being the member of a street gang known as the Bloods.
Iacoviello has been charged with-first degree murder and is being held without bail. He has pleaded not guilty.
But Carney said in court and to reporters afterward that while Lodie bears responsibility for his actions that morning, so do Talbot and the others with him who were drinking in the public park. Carney said they never identified themselves as police officers and instead left Lodie – who was then 17 and homeless – convinced they were rival gang members.
“The ultimate tragedy, of course, was the death of Officer Talbot,’’ Carney told reporters. “But Derek Lodie, a 17 year old homeless boy in Revere, should not take all the blame. … Derek Lodie was simply walking across the baseball field in Revere, minding his own business, before he was teased and taunted by a group of intoxicated police officers – who were pretending to be gang members.’’
Given the opportunity to address Brady, Talbot’s mother turned a courtroom full of stone-faced police officers into a group of men and women with tears in their eyes as she described her love for her son, and the painful loss she feels daily.
“I had to bury my first born, which is something no mother should have to do,’’ she said, as she recalled being by her son’s side after he was shot. “All I could do was to pray to God to take him peacefully.’’
As Patricia Talbot finished her brief statements, she turned toward Lodie with two framed photographs of her son in her hands and demanded that he look at Talbot. Lodie kept this head and eyes looking downward and showed no obvious emotions.
“I just wanted to show you this,’’ Patricia Talbot said to Lodie.
Bethell, Talbot’s fiancée, was with him at the park that morning, said: “He was dying before my eyes, and there was nothing I could do to save him.’’
Bethell said the couple, who had planned to marry in October 2008, had already bought a house and were talking about having children. But, those joyful mileposts have been wiped out of her life forever, she said through tears.
“I won’t get to see Danny grow old,’’ she said. “I will never forgive Derek Lodie for what he did.’’
Speaking last, Talbot’s younger brother Paul lashed out at the plea deal, which he said was an insult to his brother’s memory. “What you are saying to me is that our justice system doesn’t work,’’ he said.
He also said that he has not been able to tell his 4-year-old son for the past 25 months why his beloved uncle no longer comes to play with him.
“I’m angry,’’ Paul Talbot said. “I am angry that I have lost my brother. I am angry that my son has lost his uncle.’’
Outside the courtroom, Conley defended the plea agreement, which reduced the charge against Lodie to accessory before the fact of manslaughter.
“Anyone who’s been to Walpole for eight years knows this is hardly a light sentence,’’ Conley said.
Conley said he understood Paul Talbot’s anger, but said the decision to accept the plea was based on the several factors, including the strength of the evidence against Lodie.
After the hearing, Talbot’s relatives walked past reporters – and past Conley -- led by Paul Talbot, who said they would have no further comment.
The shooting led to the firing of Revere police Sergeant Evan Franklin after an internal investigation. Franklin ran from the scene and ordered the first arriving police officer to drive him home and not provide assistance to Talbot, according to the investigation.
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