On October 3, 1996, a 12-year veteran NYPD Officer Richard DiGuglielmo shot and killed Charles Campbell. Mr. Campbell was striking DiGuglielmo’s father with a baseball bat outside a family restaurant in the midst of a parking dispute. Richard feared for his father’s life. After Campbell hit his father 3 times with a bat, DiGuglielmo fired three shots to stop the perpetrator from hitting his father in the head.
Following a 33-day trial, DiGuglielmo though found innocent of intentional murder, was convicted of Depraved Indifference Murder. He was sentenced in 1997 by a judge who said, “I know you acted out of love and concern for your father.” He was then sentenced to 20 years to life.
In 2008 Richard was released from prison after a county court judge held an evidentiary hearing to consider newly-discovered evidence. This judge found that key witnesses in the murder prosecution had been coerced into giving false testimony. The trial court also determined that the prosecution had violated its obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence. The Judge vacated his conviction.
Twenty one months later, without disturbing the trial court’s findings of false testimony, and suppression of evidence. The Appellate court ordered DiGuglielmo back to prison. Stating that “DiGuglielmo’s belief that Campbell’s imminent use of deadly force to be objectively reasonable under all the circumstances. Campbell didn’t strike DiGuglielmo, Sr.. near his head or other vital area, indicating a lack of intent to use the bat as a deadly weapon”.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, witnesses who had the best view of the entire incident, gave statements that unambiguously supported Richard’s justification of self-defense.
Where a defendant fatally shoots the intended victim, it could be murder, manslaughter in the first or second degree, or criminal negligence, or self-defense, but NOT Depraved Indifference Murder. There’s no dispute even from prosecutors, that if brought to trial today, DiGuglielmo could not be charged with Depraved Indifference Murder. However, he continues to be imprisoned for a crime that the court has stated with clarity he did not, in fact commit. In addition, his conviction could not be sustained if his direct appeal were still pending it would be vacated.
In 2008, DiGuglielmo reentered society, connected with family, loved ones, and friends. He gained employment, got an apartment, met and fell in love with a women he married. This was all taken away from him a second time when Richard surrendered and turned himself in on June 3, 2010.
Richard has paid a steep price for his convictions. He has been in prison for many years for saving his father’s life. He has tolerated this heavy price with the comfort that his father is still alive. If you thought your father was going to be bludgeoned to death would you intervene on his behalf?
Richard’s only hope now is seeking a clemency. In light of the facts of the case and the controversy that surrounds the potential witness tampering resulting in the violation of Mr. DiGuglielmo’s constitutional rights, he is asking that clemency be granted for the remainder of his sentence. He is ready to be a productive member of society now as evidenced by his employment record and positive impact on his local community during the nearly two years he was released.
Please write a letter of support addressed to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, BUT emailed to [email protected].
The DiGuglielmo Family
Learn more about this travesty of justice against an NYPD officer: