December 22, 2008
By Lily Jamali
It was not the news the Timoshenko family was hoping to hear Monday as they headed into a second Christmas without Russel. There would be no verdict from the jury deliberating the fate of one of the accused killers of the 23-year-old police officer.
The jurors had spent about 13 hours discussing the case against Lee Woods, but one of them was hospitalized Friday with complications from a heart condition. When it became clear that her doctor didn't want her coming back until after the holiday, Woods' attorney, Sam Karliner, asked for the mistrial.
"She paid close attention when he testified. She paid close attention to my summation. But he really wanted her to be a part of this process. He felt like he had more of a connection with her than with some of the alternates," said Karliner.
Prosecutors argued that Woods was the driver on the morning of July 9, 2007 when Timoshenko and his partner Herman Yan stopped a stolen car. As they approached, there were shots, two of which killed Timoshenko. Yan was also wounded.
Last week, in a blow to the family and the police, another defendant, Robert Ellis, was acquitted on the most serious charges and convicted on lesser weapons charges. Also last week, a third defendant, Dexter Bostic, was convicted on murder charges. He faces life in prison without parole.
Although prosecutors had argued that Woods was the driver and not a shooter, they said he should be held as responsible as the others.
Speaking to newspaper reporters outside the courthouse Monday, Timoshenko's mother Tatyana said, "It's so obvious. I don't know how much more evidence you need."
"What they wanted was their son to live in peace. For them to know there's justice. We'll be back again. New York City police officers will be there and the Timoshenko family will be there," said PBA President Pat Lynch.
"How much can one family stand? We pray that the Timoshenkos will be given the strength to endure," added Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in a statement.
With the case shelved for now, all the parties involved will be coming back together in January to decide how to proceed next.