NEW YORK — Prosecutors have released new details in the 2016 killing of four men in upstate New York, accusing a former police officer of strangling one victim with a zip tie and fatally shooting another.
Court papers filed last week spell out Nicholas Tartaglione’s alleged role in the execution-style slayings. All four men were found buried on his property in Otisville, New York.
Tartaglione, a former police officer in suburban New York, could face the death penalty if convicted in what prosecutors described as the “gangland-style” killings of four men who disappeared during a cocaine-related dispute at a bar in nearby Chester.
A message was left with his defense attorney seeking comment.
The attorney, Bruce Barket, previously told The Associated Press it was “unclear who did what to whom” in the case.
“You run the real possibility of executing somebody here for crimes that other people committed,” he said.
Prosecutors wrote in the new court papers that Tartaglione lured one of the victims, Martin Luna, to the bar because he “believed that Luna had stolen money from him that was intended for the purchase of cocaine.” Tartaglione wanted to force Luna to say where the money was, they said, and “enlisted others to assist him with this plan.”
A friend and two nephews of Luna accompanied him to the bar, prosecutors said, where they were “physically restrained and not permitted to leave the premises.”
The court papers say Tartaglione struck Luna repeatedly and strangled him with a zip tie. Prosecutors say Tartaglione then drove Luna’s body to his Otisville ranch, while his unnamed co-conspirators transported the other three men “alive and bound” to the same property.
“Upon arriving at the Otisville property, the three remaining victims were each shot in the back of the head and killed,” prosecutors wrote, adding Tartaglione “personally shot one of those victims himself.”
Prosecutors said they will prove their case through witness testimony, surveillance videos and other evidence like phone records and text messages.
Tartaglione shared a Manhattan jail cell with Jeffrey Epstein in July when the wealthy financier was placed on suicide watch after being discovered with bruises on his neck. Epstein hanged himself weeks later while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.