A cop killer who murdered two of New York’s Finest — killing one officer with the officer’s own gun as he begged for his life — will soon walk out of prison a free man.
Domestic terrorist Herman Bell, one of three Black Revolutionary Army members who in 1971 shot and killed NYPD Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones in a cowardly ambush, has been granted parole, authorities announced Wednesday.
Despite decades of insisting that he’s a “political prisoner” who was set up, Bell finally convinced the Gov. Cuomo-appointed panel that he’s a remorseful, reformed man.
“There was nothing political about the act, as much as I thought at the time. It was murder and horribly wrong,” Bell told the board, according to its report released Wednesday.
Incensed law-enforcement officials weren’t buying it, with Police Commissioner James O’Neill describing the board’s decision as “indefensible.”
“Bell was sentenced to 25- years-to-life. Over the past 47 years, he has never expressed genuine remorse. And the parole board’s unjust and irresponsible decision today renders the life portion of that sentence meaningless,” he fumed in a statement.
The decision comes on the heels of other New York cop killers recently gaining their freedom, including Pablo “Paul” Costello for the the 1978 slaying of NYPD Officer David Guttenberg, and John Ruzas, who killed State Trooper Emerson Dillon in 1974.
The board’s decision about Bell has put law enforcement officers on edge, with one senior law-enforcement official telling The Post it “ undermines police officer and public safety at a time when there is a national trend of premeditated violence against our police officers across the country.”
The wife of slain NYPD officer Joseph Piagentini wrote in The Post that the release of Bell is a betrayal of her family and of all officers and their families.
"Bell should have gotten the death penalty back then. Why are they letting him out? How can they let this man out on parole when he has denied what he did to my husband for 40 years? I cannot fathom it.
Herman Bell not only killed Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones, but he killed a cop out West (Sgt. John Young of the San Francisco Police Department. Bell pleaded guilty in 2009 to voluntary manslaughter for that 1971 killing). That’s three police officers, and he’s getting out of jail.
My daughters grew up not knowing their father. They were 15 months and 3 years of age when their dad was killed," Diane Piagentini wrote.