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Sentenced To Life Plus 14 Years Pizarro Tells Family of Victim Bishun He Did Not Do It

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 30 – Before Robert Pizarro was given his pre-ordained sentence of life plus 14 years after being convicted by a jury of kidnapping and killing a Federal informant, he turned to friends and family of the victim to told then, I didn't do it.

  It took place July 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Alison J. Nathan. She told Pizarro to turn and face her, and said she understand that he will appeal. And why not? Life plus 14 years is a long time.

  The government's sentencing submission recited how Pizarro and his co-defendant Juan Rivera staked out the Bronx auto body shop of Robert Bishun, intent on robbing the narcotics proceeds they were convinced he had. (In fact, the government says, "by the time of his murder, Bishun had not only ceased dealing drugs, but he had become a cooperating witness with federal authorities."

   After losing at trial, Pizarro fired his lawyers and was assigned a new one, Mark DeMarco. On July 30 DeMarco asked, given the mandatory minimums of life and seven years, what he was supposed to say. Just prepare the appeal is the answer. The case is US v. Pizarro, 17-cr-151 (AJM).

  In smaller potatoes crime, Ronny Ramirez Deluna worked a cocaine distribution business disguised as a livery cab service in lower and Midtown Manhattan from April 2016 to August 2017. He pleaded guilty, arguably safety valve eligible, before SDNY Judge Ronnie Abrams on July 30.

 Judge Abrams, as a routine part of the plea allocution with Inner City Press the only media present, asked if Ramirez Deluna is a U.S. citizen. His lawyer B. Alan Seidler replied that he claims derivative citizenship and that it is being litigated. Seidler had written to Abrams back on June 17, putting off a June 19 status conference because "the parties are involved in plea discussions."

   Judge Abrams endorsed that, pushing back the conference to July 16, then apparently to July 30 when the discussions bore or at last publicly showed fruit. It had been some time coming: despite a May 2018 indictment, Ramirez Deluna was not apprehended and applied for bail before Judge Abrams on February 5, 2019.

  Then Judge Abrams asked, "Why did it take so long for Mr. Ramirez Deluna to be arrested?"

  Assistant US Attorney McGinness said that Ramirez Deluna had retained a defense lawyer at that time who made an appearance on the docket "but the DEA was not able to apprehend him. He did not surrender." Then the US Marshals took over and interviewed " family member or a relative or a social friend of his." Then he turned himself in.

  Before Judge Abrams on February 5, his then lawyer Mr. Velez offered as financially responsible people ready to sign Stephanie Delacruz who works at Montefiore Hospital. "She is his girlfriend. She makes $60,000," Mr. Velez said.

  AUSA McGinness replied that "he is not only a risk of flight, he has been in flight."

  Judge Abrams said, "I find this baffling. I haven't had a situation before where a defense attorney filed a notice of appearance and yet his client stayed where he was instead of fleeing, didn't surrender."  The Bronx is large.... None of this was covered at the time, nor now: it is part of the vast otherwise unreported part of the SDNY's docket.

  Judge Abrams denied bail, but put it on a fast track back in February. Now this guilty plea, with the specter of a safety value. The sentencing is set for November 15. Inner City Press, working on these stories while perched over a Pacer terminal for months, intends to be there. Watch this site. The case is USA v. Ramirez Deluna, 18-cr-351 (RA).



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