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New Indictment Served To Ex-Cop In Westchester Accused Of Killing Four

A file photo of Nick Tartaglione with a K-9 officer when Tartaglione was a member of the Briarcliff Manor Police Department.
A file photo of Nick Tartaglione with a K-9 officer when Tartaglione was a member of the Briarcliff Manor Police Department. Photo Credit: File photo

A new indictment has been filed against a former police officer in three Westchester municipalities and one in Dutchess who may face the death penalty after allegedly being involved in the murders of four men in Orange County in 2016.

Late in 2016, Nicholas Tartaglione, a former Briarcliff Manor police officer, was charged in a five-count indictment for his participation in a drug conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and for the murders of four men, all of whom lived in Middletown.

This week, a new indictment was filed against Tartaglione, charging him with four counts of murder in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy, three counts of use of a firearm in furtherance of narcotics trafficking resulting in death, one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, four counts of kidnapping, and four counts of transporting with intent to commit a crime of violence.

Prosecutors will reportedly seek the death penalty against Tartaglione when his case heads to trial, which his attorneys called “outrageous.”

According to the initial indictment that was filed in White Plains Federal Court, Tartaglione killed Martin Luna, 41, Urbano Santiago, 32, Miguel Luna, 25, and Hector Gutierrez, 43, at the Likquid Lounge - a bar that his brother reportedly managed for a time in the town of Chester in Orange County - when a cocaine deal went badly involving at least one of the victims.

Prosecutors had argued that Tartaglione killed Luna as part of a drug transaction, leaving his other three victims with his cohorts. The new indictment charges that Tartaglione “intentionally and knowingly killed, and counseled, commanded, induced, procured, and caused the intentional killing” of Luna at the bar, and that the other three men were then taken to Otisville and killed there.

It is further alleged that Tartaglione then drove with the bodies for approximately a half hour from the bar in Chester to his farm in Otisville, also in Orange. Four bodies would be removed from his property the day after he was arrested.

According to court papers, in 1999, Tartaglione was charged with perjury and official misconduct after testifying in court at a DMV license revocation hearing for a friend. Tartaglione was ultimately acquitted at trial, but fired by the village. He is also a former police officer in Mount Vernon, Yonkers and Dutchess County.

In 2003, he sued to get his job back and received more than $300,000 in back pay. He retired from the force in 2008 on disability with a reported annual pension of $65,000.

Tartaglione also had an ongoing legal battle with the late Clay Tiffany, an Ossining resident who hosted the popular public-access TV show, “Dirge For The Charlatans,” sued the village of Briarcliff Manor multiple times, claiming that Tartaglione assaulted him.

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