Freeze Frame on a Bad Cop

Still stuck in prison for three decades: the once famous, now forgotten, Bill Phillips

Because he has never been cited for a disciplinary infraction, he was moved to a medium-security prison about five years ago. He believes he is the oldest prisoner there, and odds are that he's one of the oldest in the system.

The reason his parole was denied in 1999 was that he told the board he didn't do the murders. "You accept no responsibility for these crimes," they ruled. So for the past five years he has told the board—sort of—that he takes responsibility for the murders of James Smith and Susan Stango.

"I had many, many sleepless nights," he says. "I had to decide if I am going to go in there and keep getting hit or am I going to acquiesce, tell them what they want to hear, and come up with a story. So I've done the best I can to piece together a story."

His first effort to admit he did something he says he didn't do came in 2001, when he started his pitch to the parole board this way: "I have no legal remedies left in this matter, and therefore, at this particular time, I have to accept culpability for this."

His story has since gotten better, but his performances still lack remorse, which he says he can't muster, "because I didn't do it, but if I tell them that I'm never getting out."

After reading the minutes of last year's parole hearing, Phillips's lawyer included a paragraph in the appeal stating that Parole Commissioner Robert Dennison "actually wants [Phillips] to be released at this point" but won't do it because of "the political sensitivities involved." (Dennison declines comment through a spokesman.)

For public consumption, Dennison told Phillips, "You are what they call a model inmate. . . . It's just that you killed two people, you tried to kill a third. And I know the courts have commented on it and the judge commented on it the last time about rehabilitation and the fact that, you know, you are not a threat to society, that what else can someone like you do, except just to do what you are doing. But the hard part for us is that you're responsible for two lost lives. . . . I know that was many years ago, but that is the hard part for us. How many years is enough for taking two lives and trying to kill a third?"

Bill Phillips thinks he knows the answer: "All of them."

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1 comments
jackstraw
jackstraw

Oh the irony- - Doing time for something he didn't do*  Ok ,it was 40 yrs, but how many people did Phillips and the NYPD of that era, put behind bars for crimes they had nothing to do with?- See the "Career Girls Murders"and go from there- Sure the racial tension , the war protests, and the emerging drug trade ,all played a part> but police corruption had been around forever, guys like Phillips made the mistake of thinking they were untouchable. They made the mistake that guys like Durk and Serpico would forever be ignored by the brass- they were almost right- - 


Did he pay for another cops crimes? Maybe -Maybe not- - but as the rascist element of the  NYPD liked to say 40 plus yrs ago  If not this ,its something else> ,you know how "these people" are.

So Mr Phillips, as someone who watched my dad get shaked down so you and others like you could live the life - Even all this time later, I have little  sympathy. Im sure that even you can see the bittersweet irony in the "The Blue Wall,s" code of "omerta "that you upheld, then violated.


 
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