Zachary Parker, the burglar whose Bellmore high school break-in was allegedly covered-up by three ex-Nassau County police officials as a favor to his father, has been sentenced to one-to-three years in prison.
Judge John Kase handed down the sentence Wednesday to the 20-year-old Merrick man, who apologized in court.
He had been sentenced to probation, but his bail was revoked after Parker violated those terms when he was charged with leaving the scene of a Hicksville car crash recently.
“I disappointed myself, I disappointed the court, I disappointed my family,” Parker told the court. “I deserve the punishment.”
Kase rebuffed a request from Parker’s attorney, Marc Gann, that Parker be sentenced to six months in jail instead. Kase also doubted that New York State prison officials will find Parker fit for the shock program, a prison boot camp that can lead to early release.
“He has not shown any smarts to me,” Kase said. “Thank God nobody was injured” in the crash.
Parker stole $11,000 worth of electronics from John F. Kennedy High School in 2009 but was not arrested until last fall. Prosecutors have accused three ex-cops of trying to squash the investigation after Parker father donated to a nonprofit police group.
The suspects in that case—Nassau County Police Second Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan, former Deputy Chief Inspector John Hunter and retired Detective Sergeant Al Sharpe—have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and misconduct.
A Suffolk judge upheld those charges earlier this month.
The 2009 break-in and the alleged thwarting of the probe were the subject of a March 31, 2011 Long Island Press cover story “Membership Has Its Privileges: Is NCPD Selling Preferential Treatment?” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice credited the story—the first installment of a five-part investigative series into the NCPD—with sparking the investigation by her office that resulted in the officers’ indictment.
Parker and his father have not been charged in connection with the cover-up allegations. The younger Parker is scheduled to be sentenced next week in a separate drug case. His mother did not comment outside of court after the sentencing.
“There is no question that he’s got issues—and everybody has issues—and that he didn’t recognize the seriousness of what he was doing,” Gann said outside the courtroom. “But I can tell you now, and I think his words were sincere: he gets it. That’s why I think a punishment that kept him in jail for several more months, frankly, would have been the kind of punishment that would’ve been appropriate given what he did that would’ve sent the right message to him and the community.”