Former NYPD cop sentenced in murder-for-hire plot breaks down in tears before judge

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, October 29, 2021
Former cop sentenced in murder-for-hire plot could get out in 6 months
Valerie Cincinelli paid her one-time boyfriend, John DiRubba, $7,000 to hire a hitman to kill estranged husband, Isaiah Carvalho, amid a bitter divorce and custody battle over thei

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A former New York City officer who pled guilty in a murder-for-hire plot was sentenced to 48 months behind bars. She's already served 30.

Valerie Cincinelli pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Apparently, with good behavior she is eligible for home confinement in six months.

Cincinelli paid her one-time boyfriend, John DiRubba, $7,000 to hire a hitman to kill estranged husband, Isaiah Carvalho, amid a bitter divorce and custody battle over their son.

DiRubba went to the authorities when Cincinelli wanted to include DiRubba's 15-year-old daughter in the plot.

"I deleted images on an iPhone with the Intent to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation into the murder for hire," Cincinelli said during the plea hearing. "I knew what I did was wrong, and I'm truly sorry, Your Honor."

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Had the case gone to trial, federal prosecutors said they would have introduced evidence that included audio and video recordings in which Cincinelli was overheard discussing the plot and an alibi.

During the virtual hearing Cincinelli, who has been in custody since her 2019 arrest, broke down, wailing, "For two years I haven't seen my son."

Carvalho was also at court on Friday. He told the judge that Cincinelli was cruel and selfish.

But Cincinelli's defense attorney painted a much different picture suggesting she was trapped by the men in her life.

"And then she suffered an unrelenting barrage over the course of a year, in which DiRubba and her husband conspired, together, to ruin her life," attorney James Kousouros said.

Cincinelli herself went before the judge in tears and explained how she became unhinged, saying, "I'm apologizing from the bottom of my heart...I can't believe that I allowed myself to get to that place, that dark place."

But her estranged husband's divorce attorney had this to say:

"I think her tears were because she got caught, I don't think she's remorseful in any way," attorney Dennis Lemke said.

Her plea agreement called for a sentence of about five years in prison. Federal prosecutors agreed not to ask for more than 60 months behind bars, but on Friday she was sentenced to 48.

Cincinelli, 36, resigned from the NYPD after a 12-year career. She had been assigned to the "Video Interactive Patrol Enhanced Response," or VIPER unit, whose members monitor security cameras at city housing projects. The unit is largely made up of officers on modified duty due to other infractions, and authorities say Cincinelli had prior domestic incidents involving the boyfriend and ex-husband that led to her being assigned there.

Before that, she was assigned to the 106th Precinct in Queens.

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