Two life sentences for attempted beheading of U.S. attorney and federal judge
A Long Island man, convicted of conspiring to murder a federal prosecutor and judge, was sentenced to two terms of life behind bars earlier this week.
In 2012, Joseph Romano was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a collectible coin scheme. Shortly after his sentencing, Romano confided in a fellow inmate of his desire to have the judge and prosecutor of his case killed.
The authorities contended that Romano enlisted the help of co-conspirator Dejvid Mirkovic. Undercover law enforcement officers, posing as hit-men, met with Mirkovic and Romano numerous times at locations on Long Island, including at the Nassau County Correctional Center (“NCCC”). Mirkovic met with an undercover officer with instructions to murder the federal judge and federal prosecutor, and offered $40,000 for commission of the two murders. Mirkovic also gave the undercover officer a $12,000 down payment and paid an additional $10,000 the following week. He promised payment of the final $18,000 upon confirmation of the murders. At the time of Mirkovic’s arrest at his home in Lake Worth, Fl., law enforcement officers recovered $18,000 in cash and a loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun.
Mirkovic plead guilty to paying an undercover police officer to kill the federal judge and prosecutor and was sentenced to 24 years behind bars for his participation. Romano opted for a trial.
As the conspiracy involved the attempted murder of a Long Island federal judge and prosecutor, in order to reduce the appearance of impropriety or a bias, the case was taken out of Long Island and presided over by a Manhattan federal judge in the Brooklyn Federal courthouse. “We wanted to remove any appearance that a colleague of the threatened judge or prosecutor would be a participant in the trial,” a spokesperson for the Eastern District Federal Court told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
During the trial, Romano’s defense attorney argued that Romano was the victim of entrapment and that the judge and prosecutor were never in danger.
“In an attempt to subvert the justice system, this defendant attempted to murder a sitting federal judge and a federal prosecutor,” said United States Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. “Originally sentenced to 15 years for fraud, Joseph Romano will now spend the rest of his natural life behind bars because of his heinous crimes.”
Romano’s life terms of imprisonment will run consecutively to his original 15-year sentence for fraud.
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