Updated 05/02/2012 11:00 PM
Family Of Man Convicted In Police Officer's Fatal Push Outraged By Verdict
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Jurors returned a mixed verdict Wednesday in the trial of a Brooklyn man accused of pushing a city police officer to his death last year.
George Villanueva, 43, was found not guilty on the murder charge in connection with the death of Officer Alain Schaberger, 42. However, they found him guilty on all other charges, including aggravated manslaughter.
Villanueva got into a scuffle with court officers when they tried to handcuff him.
As he was being led away, he told his family he loved them and to visit him in jail. The exchange prompted Villanueva's mother to break down in tears and at one point she screamed for several minutes that her son was innocent.
Court officers called Emergency Medical Services and she was taken from the courthouse in an ambulance.
Officer Alain Schaberger
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Schaberger's parents said the conviction is a relief but that nothing can bring their son back.
"It's been a long 13-and-a-half months to get to this point. We have a sense of justice, a sense of retribution, but it doesn't bring back our son, it doesn't do that," said Schaberger's father, Paul Schaberger.
"No matter the punishment this man has to pay, some day, he'll still see his mom. But for my son, I don't know if I die, I'm going to see him on the other side or not. That's forever lost to me," said Schaberger's mother, May Schaberger.
Officer Schaberger was responding to a domestic violence call between Villanueva and his girlfriend when he was allegedly pushed over a railing and fell nine feet to his death in March 2011.
The prosecution said Villanueva intentionally pushed the 10-year NYPD veteran.
The defense argued Schaberger fell after his partner, Celmira Velazquez, accidentally bumped him.
"Clearly the jury believed that he didn't intend to murder the officer, and at the end of the day, that was my biggest concern, that they would view the evidence in that way," said defense attorney Kleon Andreadis.
Clearly upset with the not guilty verdict for aggravated murder, police union officials said they will fight to make sure Villanueva will never set foot on the street again.
"A long time in the future, when he's up for parole, we will be there," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association Pat Lynch.
Villanueva faces from 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 23.