Inmate admits trying to hire hit man

September 24, 2008 5:58:42 PM PDT
A jail inmate has admitted he tried to hire a hit man to blow up the police department's headquarters and kill its commissioner. In a deal with prosecutors, David Brown pleaded guilty to criminal solicitation and will receive between three and six years in prison. He would have faced up to seven years if convicted after trial.

Brown, 39, admitted he met an undercover police officer he believed to be a hit man and agreed to pay as much as $150,000 to kill New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly and blow up police headquarters in lower Manhattan, prosecutors said Wednesday.

He spoke about wanting to avenge the November 2006 shooting by detectives of an unarmed man, Sean Bell, on his wedding day, authorities said.

"I want people to feel my wrath and my rage," Brown told the undercover officer, according to court papers.

The conversations happened by telephone twice and in person once while Brown was being held at the Rikers Island jail for violating an order of protection in a domestic-violence case, prosecutors said.

Brown's lawyer had said he was mentally ill and his threats were just idle talk.

Brown was not "in any position to harm anyone, certainly not the police commissioner," defense attorney Justine Olderman said in March.

"There is absolutely no indication that this was anything other than mere words," she said.

Brown, who will be sentenced Nov. 7, was convicted in 2001 of trying to kill his wife and served about five years. He was in Rikers for a case involving that woman, authorities said.

On Nov. 25, 2006, five officers fired 50 shots at a car driven by Bell around the corner from a Queens topless club. The officers said they believed the victim and two friends were going to retrieve a gun to settle a dispute outside the club, but no weapon was found.

The officers were acquitted of criminal charges.

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