NEW YORK — Former Black Liberation Army member Anthony Bottom, now known as Jalil Abdul Mutaqim, has been denied parole in the 1971 double assassination of NYPD Patrolman Joseph Piagentini and his partner, Waverly Jones.
The rejection of the 67-year-old Bottom’s parole bid comes eight months after the controversial release of Herman Bell, 70, who was convicted with Bottom and Albert Washington in the executions, in which the young officers — both fathers — were lured to a Harlem housing project with a bogus 911 call.
“He should spend the rest of his life in jail,” said widow Diane Piagentini. “And he should remember what he did to my husband and Waverly Jones, and it should haunt him.”
The three BLA members had come to New York from California, specifically to assassinate police officers.
When the officers responded to the housing project, they were ambushed from behind with a fusillade of bullets.
Bottom was convicted of shooting Jones five times from behind.
“He shot him in the head and down his spine,” Diane Piagentini said of Bottom’s attack on Jones. Piagentini said Bottom then turned his gun on her husband, who had 22 bullet holes in his body, when he was pronounced dead.
Washington died of cancer in prison, and Bell had tried for years to win parole without success — until April 2018.
In 2012, Bell had changed his public views on the assassinations in statements to the sitting parole board at the time.
“There was nothing political about the act, as much as I thought at the time. It was murder and horribly wrong,” he said.
In the spring of 2018, two of three parole commissioners who interviewed Bell decided to release him, citing his advanced age of 70 years old, his work with fellow inmates, the many college degrees he earned in prison, and a letter that was sent by Jones’ son advocating for Bell’s release.
It’s believed Bell has returned to his family in California.
Jones’ brother and sister were against the release, and in October, they made victim impact statements to the New York State parole board pleading for Bottom to remain in prison.
Piagentini said she learned Tuesday morning that two of the three parole commissioners voted to have Bottom to remain in prison.
Bottom comes up for parole again in less than two years.
Two parole commissioners, Tyece Drake and Erik Berliner, voted to keep Bottom in prison.
The third commissioner, Carol Shapiro, dissented and wanted to free Bottom. Shapiro was one of two commissioners who approved the release of convicted BLA cop killer, Herman Bell, in April.
PIX11 News has obtained this complete explanation from a DOCCS official that lays out the parole commissioners’ decision.
DECISION: DENIED – HOLD FOR 15 MONTHS, NEXT APPEARANCE DATE: 09/2019
COMMISSIONER SHAPIRO DISSENT
DECIDING BOARD MEMBER: DRAKE,TYECE
OTHER MEMBER(S): BERLINER, ERIK SHAPIRO,CAROL
AFTER CAREFULLY REVIEWING YOUR RECORD AND CONDUCTING A PERSONAL
INTERVIEW. PAROLE IS DENIED. YOU WERE CONVICTED OF MURDERING TWO
NYPD OFFICERS, BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION, RANDOMLY, AS AN ACTION OF
OPPORTUNITY, AS THEY WERE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE FOR WHICH YOU
AND YOUR CODEFENDANTS WERE ENGAGED IN A SELF-PROCLAIMED WAR. THE
PANEL TAKES NOTE OF YOUR EXTENSIVE REHABILITATIVE EFFORTS AND
EDUCATIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS WELL AS YOUR EXTENSIVE VOLUNTEERISM
WITH YOUR PEERS AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES. WE HAVE REVIEWED YOUR
CASE PLAN, COMPAS SCORES INDICATING LOWER RISK IN ADDITION TO YOUR
DISCIPLINARY RECORD. FURTHER, YOUR SENTENCING MINUTES, LETTERS OF
SUPPORT, OPPOSITION TO YOUR RELEASE AND OFFICIAL OPPOSITION HAVE BEEN
REVIEWED AND CONSIDERED. THE BOARD ACKNOWLEDGES YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH
AND REMORSE FOR YOUR ACTIONS HOWEVER DISCRETIONARY RELEASE SHALL NOT
BE GRANTED MERELY AS A REWARD FOR GOOD CONDUCT OR EFFICIENT
PERFORMANCE WHILE CONFINED. THE PANEL DEPARTS FROM THE COMPAS
BECAUSE THE PANEL WAS NOT PERSUADED ABOUT THE ACCOUNTS OF THE INSTANT
OFFENSE. WHILE YOU TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CRIME, DURING THE
INTERVIEW, YOU DIDN’T ADEQUATELY DETAIL THE EVENTS OF THE TRAGIC
MURDERS. INSTEAD YOU VACILLATED BETWEEN NOT REMEMBERING YOUR ACTIONS
TO REMEMBERING SHOOTING OFFICER REDACTED, YET REMEMBERING NOT SHOOTING
OFFICER REDACTED. YOU CLAIMED YOU HAD NOT DONE SO WHILE ALSO
NOTING THAT THE RECORDS INDICATED AT LEAST ONE BULLET IN HIS HAND
HAD COME FOR YOUR WEAPON. YOU FINALLY RESPONDED IN SUBSTANCE THAT IN
THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT, YOU COULD NOT RECALL. ADDITIONALLY, WHILE
YOURGROWTH AND PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE COMMENDABLE, THEY MUST ALSO
BE BALANCED AGAINST THE HARM YOU CAUSED. BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION,
YOUR VICTIMS WERE NOT TARGETED AS INDIVIDUALS, BUT AS REPRESENTATIVES
OF THE STATE.
AS SUCH, THE PANEL CONCLUDES THAT YOUR MOTIVATION IN
MURDERING TWO PUBLIC SERVANTS, SPECIFICALLY THOSE CHARGED WITH
ENFORCING THE LAW, IS RELEVANT TO THE QUESTION OF WHETHER YOUR
RELEASE ON PAROLE WOULD UNDERMINE RESPECT FOR THE LAW. THEREFORE,
RELEASE AT THIS TIME IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE WELFARE OF SOCIETY AND
TO DO SO WOULD DEPRECATE THE SERIOUS NATURE OF THE OFFENSE AS TO
UNDERMINE RESPECT FOR THE LAW.
COMMISSIONER SHAPIRO DISSENT:
THE BRUTALITY OF YOUR INSTANT OFFENSE WAS CONSIDERED IN BALANCE
WITH THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THE BRUTAL MURDERS OF TWO POLICE OFFICERS
OCCURRED. WEIGHING YOUR INSTITUTIONAL RECORD, INCLUDING YOUR OVERALL
COMPAS SCORES, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PRISON MISCONDUCT, INDICATES
YOUR LOW RISK TO SOCIETY IF RELEASED. IN ADDITION, YOUR
INSTITUTIONAL GROWTH, AND IMPORTANTLY, YOUR TRANSITION FROM AN ANGRY
YOUNG MAN INTO A MATURE ADULT WHO ASSUMES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR
YOUR HEINOUS BEHAVIOR UNDERSCORES YOUR REMORSE AND REHABILITATION.
OFFICIAL LETTERS WERE CONSIDERED AS WELL AS LETTERS OF SUPPORT AND
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OVER 40 YEARS OF INCARCERATION, FURTHER
UNDERSCORING YOUR TRANSFORMATION FROM YOUR ACTIVIST AND ANGRY YOUTH
INTO A PRODUCTIVE CITIZEN. ADDITIONAL INCARCERATION IN NEW YORK STATE
WILL SERVE NO PURPOSE TO UPHOLD THE LAWS AND STATUTORY FACTORS
GUIDING A PAROLE DECISION. THIS DISSENT, IN NO WAY, OFFERS
APPROBATION OF YOUR MOST HEINOUS CRIMES COMMITTED IN THE EARLY 1970’S.