DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A convicted cop killer denied his guilt and struggled to remember the name of his victim in a callous speech before being sent to prison for 28½ years to life Wednesday.
George Villanueva was convicted last month of pushing officer Alain Schaberger off a Boerum Hill stoop into a stairwell, killing the 42-year-old cop, in December 2011 after Schaberger had repsonded to a domestic violence call.
"The fact of the matter is, I didn't push your son," Villanueva told Schaberger's parents. "If I had known that guy was gonna fall, I would have helped him," he continued."I'm not a killer. I never was.”
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Neil Firetog handed the unapologetic killer the maximum sentence.
Villanueva has a long criminal record that includes five convictions for burglary or attempted burglary, a fact that was emphasized by assistant district attorney Mark Hale during Wednesday's sentencing.
"Mr. Villanueva was given opportunity time and time and time again," said Hale. "Frankly, Mr. Villanueva has used up those opportunities."
Schaberger's father, Paul Schaberger, choked up as he implored the judge to punish Villanueva to the greatest extent of the law.
"During the trial, this guilty individual has also been shown to be a brutal thug whose vicious nature makes him totally unfit to be part of society," the grieivng father said.
Schaberger's only sibling, Tracey Wagner, fought back tears as she recalled the impact of her brother's death on her family.
"My mother's cries of grief and agony echo in my head," said Wagner. "These moments are scarred in my memory."
Villanueva received the maximum sentence of 25 years to life for aggravated manslaughter and another 3½ to seven years for a separate charge of criminal contempt for violating protective orders.
An emotional cry from a member of Villanueva’s family broke the silence of the courtroom after the sentence was read.
Outside the courtroom, Schaberger’s family said they were pleased with the sentence.
“There is a great deal of satisfaction in seeing that if you kill a police officer, you pay for it,” said Paul Schaberger. “Unfortunately, his family will pay for it as well.”