STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The man who was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of NYPD Officer Gerard Carter back in 1998 was denied parole Wednesday, an announcement that was praised by a number of local law-enforcement officials, politicians and Carter’s widow.
Carter, 28, was shot in the head while sitting in a police van in the West Brighton Houses’ courtyard on July 26, 1998.
He died five days later on July 31 in what is now Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton. His funeral, which was attended by thousands of NYPD members and a host of dignitaries, took place Aug. 3 in First Central Baptist Church, Stapleton.
Carter was the third New York City police officer killed in the line of duty that year, according to Advance records.
Shatiek Johnson, a 17-year-old who was on parole for manslaughter at the time he ambushed Carter, was convicted in the shooting and sentenced to 25 years to life to prison. He had been eligible for parole this year.
“We are ecstatic that Gerard’s killer won’t be set loose. The community support we received, everyone who spoke out and sent in petitions, was phenomenal,” Jozette Carter-Williams told the Advance/SILive.com.
“We think it made all the difference. Now we want to change the laws to help anyone who unfortunately has to go through what we went through. Parole should not even be an option for a multiple killer or a cop-killer.”
Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) and NYC Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick J. Lynch both said the decision was a great relief for the Carter family and fellow New York City police officers.
“This three-time killer will unfortunately get another shot at freedom very soon, and we have numerous other cop-killers coming up for parole in the months ahead,” Lynch said.
“We need our lawmakers to take action to fix the broken parole system, and we need every New Yorker to visit the PBA website and send a message to the parole board that Shatiek Johnson and every other cop-killer must remain behind bars.”
Reilly, a former NYPD officer, added that for at least two years Johnson will remain locked up behind bars.
“While the parole board made the right decision this time, they often have not in the past, and Officer Carter’s family will be forced to do as many others have, reliving this trauma on replay every two years for the foreseeable future,” the assemblyman said. “I have and will continue to call for reforms to be made to the state parole board so that it treats crime victims and their families, not murderers and other violent criminals, with greater compassion and empathy.”
In a 2018 interview, Carter’s widow and his son, Louis, 26, reflected on the 20th anniversary of the murder during an interview with the Advance/SILive.com.
“I still probably have some hatred toward [Johnson], because he took away my son’s father and to live 20 years without his dad really hurt,” Carter-Williams said at the time.
“I honestly didn’t know my dad that well,” said Louis, a music producer. “I was 6 years old when it happened. Of course, I missed him my whole life.”
District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said the parole board made the right decision by keeping Carter behind bars.
“This will remain a battle we will wage alongside Gerard’s wife, Jozette, his son, Louis, mother Martha, my fellow elected officials... and supporters across our community for years to come,” McMahon said. “Police Officer Carter was a hero, who had so much left to give his family and to fellow cops. Justice demands that the man who took him from us must remain incarcerated for many years to come.”