NEW YORK – A pair of decorated NYPD detectives, bidding for freedom just weeks after their convictions for facilitating eight mob murders were overturned, were instead sent back to prison Tuesday.
Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, denounced after their April convictions as the most corrupt cops in city history, had their bail petitions denied by the same federal judge who had overturned their convictions last month.
"The defendants are dangerous criminals with no degree of credibility," ruled U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein. The two ex-detectives sat stoically as the judge handed down his decision.
Weinstein, in a June 30 ruling, said he agreed with an April jury verdict finding the so-called "Mafia Cops" were responsible for the eight murders, kidnapping and other crimes — but said he was compelled to set aside the verdict because the statute of limitations had passed.
The sensational case seemed finished when the guilty verdicts and life sentences were announced against the defendants, both former police detectives accused of moonlighting as hit men for the mob. But Weinstein's stunning ruling set the stage for Tuesday's bail hearing.
The judge found that the statute of limitations had expired on the slayings, which occurred between 1986 and 1990.
Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, each were out on $5 million bail for nine months before their convictions put them behind bars. Their lawyers argue that the similar conditions should apply while they await the outcome of a government appeal of Weinstein's ruling or — if it's upheld — a retrial on lesser charges stemming from a 2005 drug sting in Las Vegas, where the partners both had retired.
Prosecutors, calling the evidence that the former NYPD detectives were killers "overwhelming," have argued that they are too dangerous to go free.